They seem hundreds of years away. Breughel,
You’ll know them if I can get them true.
They kneel under the hedge in a half circle
Behind a windbreak wind is breaking through.
They are the seed cutters. The tuck and frill
Of the leaf-sprout is on the seed potatoes
Buried under the straw. With time to kill
They are taking their time. Each sharp knife goes
Lazily halving each root that falls apart
In the palm of the hand: a milky gleam,
And, at the centre, a dark watermark.
O calendar customs! Under the broom
Yellowing over them, compose the frieze
With all of us there, our anonymities.