Muriel Rukeyser

(December 15, 1913 – February 12, 1980 / New York City)

Haying Before Storm


This sky is unmistakable. Not lurid, not low, not black.
Illuminated and bruise-color, limitless, to the noon
Full of its floods to come. Under it, field, wheels, and mountain,
The valley scattered with friends, gathering in
Live-colored harvest, filling their arms; not seeming to hope
Not seeming to dread, doing.
I stand where I can see
Holding a small pitcher, coming in toward
The doers and the day.
These images are all
Themselves emerging : they face their moment, love or go down,
A blade of the strong hay stands like light before me.
The sky is a torment on our eyes, the sky
Will not wait for this golden, it will not wait for form.
There is hardly a moment to stand before the storm.
There is hardly time to lay hand to the great earth.
Or time to tell again what power shines past storm.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010
Edited: Thursday, December 15, 2011

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