Mornings like this—no drift
         to the canoe, no bass
at the lure—the shiver-calls of loons
      we hear all night seem like a dream,
as if the lake loses its voice
      each morning, the way old people do,
the way the Shakers in their barn houses
      along the shore tell you their history
in hoarse whispers as they point
      to the rockers they make, sell
and seed the countryside with
      the way the dying maple sent out
pods like mad as a last resort,
      the way we stay rooted here
as if we have to study silence
      and perpetual peace for years
to do well on some final test.