The Hermit Observes All Saints Day

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The Hermit Observes All Saints Day
by Sally Thomas

This frosty morning, he heats creek water and pours
Loud bucketfuls into his big tin bath.
In the window’s cold white light, the whiter steam
Rises and curls in figures that palely gleam,
Riders appearing along an airy path.
The hoofbeats of each faint approaching horse
Thunder silently. Sighing, then, he lowers
Himself into the bath. His own warm breath
Joins the riders passing like a dream
Above him, vanishing. These righteous seem
To turn in their saddles, beckon. Is this death?
His heart’s loud hoofbeats sound. Once more the hour’s
An hour of life. Outside, the silver day
Still shines for him. The spirits ride away.