Before morning, we knew where the sun would rise
At midday, how high in the sky.
At dusk, over which hill it would set.
Then , which star would be first to wake up,
where and when the moon would appear
and in which guise.
We knew that when shadows are longest
still the sun creeps northward
twig by twig, each day
as it rises anew in the southeastern sky.
We knew the startling hoot of the great horned owl
would come one moon before
the “phoebee” call of the chickadee,
and the phoebee call one moon before
the sap would drip from broken maple branches.
We may have dreaded cold-hearted winter then
but the return of the light was not in doubt