Time Is Our House by LOUISE McNEILL

<i> From "Hill Daughter: New and Selected Poems" (University of Pittsburgh </i> P<i> ress: $24.95; 144 pp.). Poet Laureate of West Virginia, McNeill, 80, has been writing poems rooted in the land since she was 16. 1991 by Louise McNeill. </i>

What race is mine, unnatural to earth,

That did not come and does not think to go,

That sees the sun eternally at noon,

But not the rising nor the falling low?


How stands our oak beneath the roof of glass,

Forever hanging cant-wise in the air,

Rootless, without a lineage in the rock,

And barren of the seed its kindred bear?


Time is our house, but at the east no door,

And from the west no pathway to the spring.

Even the track of winter on the shore

Has more than we to borrow and to bring.


Even the mother fox has more to say

Of what the winds may tide and blow away.