She stands still on russet fields
and her beauty
is her sadness.
Hard won is the tenderness in her eyes.
Perhaps the fields are hers,
perhaps she only knows them
and is at pause
in her loving labor.
In her print dress, she could be ensconced
in the elegance of a sofa,
or kneeling by the hearth that warms
its surrounding damp.
In either case would children run to her,
seeking the slender lap
that is the joy of dreamless night.
In fact, so still,
it is a child she is remembering,
a child who
in the brash brightness of her youth
ran laughing through summer fields
as if they could never end.
That child's joy
is the woman's grief.