Burley Coulter’s Song for Kate Helen Branch

The rugs were rolled back to the wall,
The band in place, the lamps all lit,
We talked and laughed a little bit
And then obeyed the caller’s call-
Light-footed, happy, half entranced-
To balance, swing, and promenade.
Do you remember how we danced
And how the fiddler played?

About midnight we left the crow
And wandered out to take a stroll.
We heard the treefrogs and the owl;
Nearby the creek was running loud.
The good dark held us as we chanced
The joy we two together made,
Remembering how we’d whirled and pranced
And how the fiddler played.

That night is many years ago
And gone, and still I see you clear,
Clear as the lamplight in your hair.
The old time comes around me now,
And I remember how you glanced
At me, and how we stepped and swayed.
I can’t forget the way we danced,
The way the fiddler played.

–Wendell Berry, Given: New Poems

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