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A Fine Day

by Adrian Bell
An old woman in a white apron is stirring
From her dark doorway now that it is spring:
Her face is scrivened with care; it is a wonder
That she can bow yet lower than age has bound her,
Gathering her lap full of the brittle bones
Of branches fallen on the graves, and cones
Littering the churchyard. Her husband and son
At work, she gathers tinder in the sun.
I had not thought she saw the tender grass
Of spring, periwinkles and violets in a mass,
But that she paused upon her homeward way
To smile at me, "Sir, what a lovely day!"
And nearer came. We stood and talked together,
But only to repeat, "What lovely weather!"
Then she trudged on. Her eyes forgot their twinkles,
And her smile withered into age's wrinkles.
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