The last place you're likely to see me in life,
is where I'll be after,
among the oaks, the hickory, and elms,
beside the wash of a shallow creek with no name.
The distance of it will span the length of my desires.
The simplicity of its long years will be my own.
It can speak to you,
in the somber and silent voice of the forgotten.
If you will hear it, it will come to you as the rustle of a prairie's dance,
in the evening, when the whispers of my life stir the southern wind,
and help carry the weight of those who would be remembered.
And in that valley where the locust grows over graves,
mine will sit beside the one I call, Silent Thorn,
On the high ground, out of the river's reach.
The wood and stone there hold my mark,
though it be a restless speck in quiet days of watching
There I'll be dead ... and born of the same substance.
And when the maple's leaf turns red to fall,
I'll be there to see it.
When the dogwood blooms to welcome spring,
when it casts the flower to sleep,
I'll be the shadow that shades nearby,
til' the night take its comfort to resting hollows.
Should you lay on the ground, looking past the branches,
you'll find the stars looking for me,
down through broad green turned grey by twilight,
and into black, where my smile can't be seen again.
If the earth moans under the cold,
it only misses the heat of my fires,
crackling in the distant wood.
There will come morning and birds' songs,
where they cry not my passing, but waking
in their company ... as I have always been.