“[Silence] is the fence around wisdom.”
Ancient Hebrew Proverb

“Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?
On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand.”
Proverbs 8:1-2

Yesterday was clear
and warmer than we would expect
this time of year
on the lip of Blue Ridge.
Bull bellowed through the afternoon
and the little dipper
tipped a glimmer from beneath
the gauze of stratus curtain
blowing in.

By morning clouds had settled
and an odd mockingbird came quietly
to sip remnants of rain
from the cement planter
out beside corncrib,
and all four of them—
cloud, bird, stained water, concrete box—
carried the same inference
of gray.

Although I waited all day
for the familiarity of winter
shadows dropping long, falling dark,
before they would finally recede,
nothing moved across the field
except the breeze,
nothing met me on the path
except westerly wind turning in
at dusk.

I know that night will show itself
this way along the high ridge
of Mt. San Angelo:
pillar of cloud will dissolve
into the gray solitude of cattle
sighing and that mysterious wisdom
we came here to know
will slip invisibly inside
silence’s fence.

— first appeared in Nimrod International Journal