On an evening that showed me once
how the end of August comes to sadden us,
I gathered up the fallen cones
in the corner of the yard,
in the shadow of the willow.                             
Then I walked as far as the thistle-field
the stream without a ripple.
Along the track of indentations in the grass
to the place where cattle came to drink
from their reflections, and I to think.
I had questions to ask and all the answers 
shook the branches of the trees,
made the hinges creak
In the slaughterhouse lambs 
were waiting, knives prepared 
for the village butcher whose coup de grace
took half a minute. I remember him still,
slightly stooped, red-faced grin, 
his apron like a pelt around him.
His black Wellingtons ankle-deep in entrails.

From The Fullness of Time, Dedalus, 2010

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