Leave the bars lying in the grass.
Let all wanderers freely pass
Into the pasture now.
Gone are the fawn-shy heifers, gone
The little calf almost a fawn,
And the black two-year cow.
Leave the bars lying where they are.
Let each black-triangled birch bar
Be white and triple-warning:
One for all the tender things that go,
One for the near and ultimate snow,
One for frost by morning.
In that first snow a frightened deer,
Swifter than snowfall, swift as fear,
May pass here flying, flying.
What if no fence could foil his speed?
Spare him the leap, spare him one need
Of leaping. Leave the bars lying.
Robert Francis: Collected Poems:
1936-1976, University of Massachusetts
Press, © 1985. Reprinted by permission.