Elegy Written in an Empty Field

The day is draped in gray;
Around me moves the swirling mist
Of everything that has been, or will be.
I stand here, looking up,
Not fully knowing why my chest
Seems so filled up with sadness. I’m resigned
To what my part, my role is, now, I guess:
For even clouds have shadows,
Moving ceaselessly, as they do.

Across the gray-green stubbled field,
A rusty fire hydrant sits.
It’s seen its better days, but still,
It on the lookout stands and waits,
It’s almost gray, and
At one with the day.

A lifetime’s work, a moment’s use:
What is this but labor, love, and honor.
These things we strive to build,
Then use so briefly.

New clouds form, and old ones go,
While the water this field needs
Lies trapped beneath a hydrant.
What we need may be at hand,
But that doesn’t mean we
Will ever have it.

And human breath, like other clouds,
May cause great storms, or
Make cool shade,
But in the end, it passes like a mist
Across the skies of other mists
Much closer to the ground.

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