We’d, in summer, see them sitting
In their yard, beyond the hollow,
From our bikes, the rain permitting:
Smiling then, their eyes would follow,
Children done with summer play,
Heading home at fade of day.
One old couple: wrinkled, graying,
Side by side with shadows growing:
That their hearts for us were praying,
We’d no way of really knowing.
But, our youth was not such blindness,
We could not detect their kindness.
Then, new summer on the canyon,
She was in the chair alone, now:
And we saw that her companion,
Must have died. We knew it, somehow.
All us boys took off our caps then,
Age eleven, or perhaps ten.
So she mouthed a thankful greeting;
We, his honor guard, departed.
Hearts that grow with one less beating,
Come from what that first heart started.
Weeds grow thick now in the hollow,
Mockingbird, and jay, and swallow,
Singing: “Life’s a storm, a torrent:
Love’s forever — people aren’t.”