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Late Season Clear-up

The fuchsias and hydrangeas pruned. And scores of barrow loads
of chestnut leaves swept up and dumped. All icy afternoon
my fellow winterer, the robin, ’s never far away.
It can’t be, surely, that the creature likes my company?
Dismiss the soppy thought. A primal need has brought him here
to feed on smaller living things my rake exposes. Still,
if Hardy, on the last day of the year, allowed himself
to think that in a thrush lies the capacity for hope,
soppy or not, I give myself permission to regard
this perky, hopping ball of fluffed-up feathers as a friend.