I could move the light weight chaise lounge from the back porch to some spot on the lawn from which more than a tiny patch of sky is visible. It would be a pretty small patch anywhere in this tree-hedged yard, but not entirely tiny. Moving the furniture would, of course, distress the feral cats, and heaven knows what the raccoons and skunks would think, or do. I suppose I'd be in no serious danger from them, but do I want the bother?
Thing is I've been awake since six o'clock this morning, and have gone shopping (a tiring task at the best of times) and I'm quite exhausted. It's entirely possible that I'd fall asleep outside, and then raccoons and skunks could have their way with me, and I'd end up sleeping through the meteors anyway, waking to find myself covered in raccoon poo and skunk spray. And the smoke might head back this way anyway, and then it would all have been a waste of time. And anyway, the small crickets are out early this year, making their annoying buzz.
Are those excuses sufficient? I hope so, because I'm going to go watch television. With my failing eyesight television is much easier to see than meteors anyway.
Name of Horses
by Donald Hall
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.
In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;
and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres,
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack,
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn,
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.
Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns.
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.
When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin,
and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear,
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave,
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.
For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground — old toilers, soil makers:
O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.