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The hidden wounds that can Restore anything, bringing the glass Ofthe world together once more, All as it was when she struck, All except her. The shattered field Where they dragged the telescoped car Offto be pounded to scrap Waits for her to get up, For her calm, unimagined face To emerge from the yards ofits wrapping, Red, raw, mixed-looking but entire, A new face, an old life, To confront the pale glass it has dreamed Made whole and backed with wise silver, Held in other hands brittle with dread, A doctor's, a lip-biting nurse's, Who do not see what she sees Behind her odd face in the mirror: The pastures ofearth and ofheaven Restored and undamaged, the cattle Risen out oftheir jagged graves To walk in the seamless sunlight And a newborn countenance Put upon everything, Her beauty gone, but to hover Near for the rest ofher life, And good no nearer, but plainly In sight, and the only way. [(udzu Japan invades. Far Eastern vines Run from the clay banks they are Supposed to keep from eroding, Up telephone poles, Which rear, halfout ofleafage, Helmets / I54 As though they would shriek, Like things smothered by their own Green, mindless, unkillable ghosts. In Georgia, the legend says That you must close your windows At night to keep it out ofthe house. The glass is tinged with green, even so, As the tendrils crawl over the fields. The night the kudzu has Your pasture, you sleep like the dead. Silence has grown Oriental And you cannot step upon ground: Your leg plunges somewhere It should not, it never should be, Disappears, and waits to be struck Anywhere between sole and kneecap: For when the kudzu comes, The snakes do, and weave themselves Among its lengthening vines, Their spade heads resting on leaves, Growing also, in earthly power And the huge circumstance ofconcealment. One by one the cows stumble in, Drooling a hot green froth, And die, seeing the wood oftheir stalls Strain to break into leaf. In your closed house, with the vine Tapping your window like lightning, You remember what tactics to use. In the wrong yellow fog-light ofdawn You herd them in, the hogs, Head down in their hairy fat, The meaty troops, to the pasture. The leaves ofthe kudzu quake With the serpents' fear, inside The meadow ringed with men Holding sticks, on the country roads. Kudzu / I55 The hogs disappear in the leaves. The sound is intense, subhuman, Nearly human with purposive rage. There is no terror Sound from the snakes. No one can see the desperate, futile Striking under the leafheads. Now and then, the flash ofa long Living vine, a cold belly, Leaps up, torn apart, then falls Under the tussling surface. You have won, and wait for frost, When, at the merest touch Ofcold, the kudzu turns Black, withers inward and dies, Leaving a mass ofbrown strings Like the wires ofa gigantic switchboard. You open your windows, With the lightning restored to the sky And no leaves rising to bury You alive inside your frail house, And you think, in the opened cold, Ofthe surface ofthings and its terrors, And ofthe mistaken, mortal Arrogance ofthe snakes As the vines, growing insanely, sent Great powers into their bodies And the freedom to strike without warning: From them, though they killed Your cattle, such energy also flowed To you from the knee-high meadow (It was as though you had A green sword twined among The veins ofyour growing right armSuch strength as you would not believe Ifyou stood alone in a proper Shaved field among your safe cows-): Came in through your closed Helmets I 156 Leafy windows and almighty sleep And prospered, till rooted out. The Beholders Far away under us, they are mowing on the green steps Ofthe valley, taking long, unending swings Among the ripe wheat. It is something about them growing, Growing smaller, that makes us look up and see That what has come over them is a storm. It is a blue-black storm the shape ofthis valley, And includes, perhaps, in its darkness, Three men in the air Taking long, limber swings, cutting water. Swaths start to fall and, on earth, The men come closer together as they mow. Now in the last stand ofwheat they bend. From above, we watch over them like gods, Our chins on our hands, Our great eyes staring, our throats dry And aching to cry down on...


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MARC Record
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