The taut wire hums before it breaks,
like the city in the morning
or late, when the lights go out.
And the chain on the bridge gate—
before it snaps, one link turns over
slowly, and creaks.
I watch an oak whose top
has forgotten the ground under the leaves.
At the final swing of the axe
the high branches glisten,
whisper, then lean
with surging recognition
to an old friend.
I turn to you
— William Stafford