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Through stratum after stratum ofa tone Proclaiming what choices there are For the last dancers oftheir kind, For ill women and for all slaves Ofdeath, and children enchanted at walls With a brass-beating glow underfoot, Not dancing but nearly risen Through barnlike, theatrelike houses On the wings ofthe buck and wing. Faces Seen Once Faces seen once are seen To fade from around one feature, Leaving a chin, a scar, an expression Forever in the air beneath a streetlight, Glancing in boredom from the window Ofa bus in a country town, Showing teeth for a moment only, All ofwhich die out ofmind, except One silver one. Who had the dog-bitten ear? The granulated lids? The birthmark? Faces seen once change always Into and out ofeach other: An eye you saw in Toulon Is gazing at you down a tin drainpipe You played with as a dull child In Robertstown, Georgia. There it is April; the one eye Concentrates, the rusty pipe Is trembling; behind the eye Is a pine tree blurring with tears: Buckdancer's Choice / 202 You and someone's blue eye Transforming your boyhood are weeping For an only son drowned in warm water With the French fleet offSenegal. Soon after, the cancer-clamped face Ofyour great-grandfather relaxes, Smiles again with the lips of a newsboy. Faces seen once make up One face being organized And changed and known less all the time, Unsexed, amorphous, growing in necessity As you deepen in age. The brow wrinkles, a blind, all-knowing Questioning look comes over it, And every face in the street begins To partake ofthe look in the eyes, Every nose is part ofthat nose And changes the nose; every innocence and every Unspoken-ofguilt goes into it, Into the face ofthe one Encountered, unknowable person who waits For you all over the world, In coffee shops, filling stations, bars, In mills and orphan asylums, In hospitals, prisons, at parties, Yearning to be one thing. At your death, they-it is there, And the features congeal, Having taken the last visage in, Over you, pretesting its smile, The skin the indwelling no Color ofall colors mingled, The eyes asking all there is. Composed, your own face trembles near Faces Seen Once / 203 Joining that other, knowing That finally something must break Or speak. A silver tooth gleams; You mumble, whispering "You Are human, are what I have witnessed. You are all faces seen once." Through the bent, staring, unstable dark Ofa drainpipe, Unity hears youA God-roar ofhearing-say only "You are an angel's too-realized Unbearable memoryless face." The Common Grave I Some sit and stare In an unknown direction, through most lie still, Knowing that every season Must be wintered. II The mover ofmists and streams Is usually in the weeds By twilight, taking slowly A dark dedicated field-shape. III Ofall those who are under, Many are looking over Their shoulder, although it is only one leap To beyond-reason gold, only one Breath to the sun's great city. All ages ofmankind unite Where it is dark enough. Buckdancer's Choice / 2°4 ...

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