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Is not the current. No, but what dances on it is More beautiful than what takes its time Beneath, running on a single unreleased Eternal breath, rammed With carry, its all-out dream and dread Surging bull-breasted, Head-down, unblocked. For a Time andPlace A South Carolina inauguration ofRichardRiley asgovernor May we be able to begin with ourselves Underfoot and rising, Peering through leaves we have basketed, through tendrils hanging Like bait, through flowers, Through lifted grave-soil: peering Past the short tree that stands In place for us, sawed-off, unbendable: a thing Pile-driven down And flowering from the impact-such weaving Consuming delicacy in the leaves, out ofsuch Up-wedged and pineappled bark! We look alive Through those petals in the censer-swung pots: through That swinging soil, and the split leaves fountaining out Ofthe mauled tree, to the east horizon vibrant With whole-earth hold-down, past a single sail pillowing From there on out. We peer also from the flat Slant sand, west from estuary-glitter, From the reed-beds bending inland At dawn as we do, to the high-ground hard-hurdling Power ofthe down-mountain torrent: at a blue-ridged glance From the ocean, we see all we have Is unified as a quilt: the long leaves ofthe short tree, The tough churchly feathers, dance rice-like this side of The far-out wave-break's lounging The Eaglels Mile / 454 Curved insolent long sparking thorn, and The gull's involving balance, his sweeping-through shuttle-run Downwind; his tapestry-move Is laid on our shoulders, where the unspilled dead Are riding, wild with flowers, collision-colors At the hairline, tended, sufficient, dead-level with us From now on out. What visions to us from all this lived Humidity? What insights from the blue haze alone? From kudzu? From snake-vine? From the native dog-sized deer From island to island floating, their head-bones Eternal and formal, Collisionless? We are standing mainly on blends Ofsand, red-rooted, in dark Near-fever air, and there is a certain weaving At our backs, like a gull's over-the-shoulder Peel-offdownwind. Assuming those wings, we keep gazing From goat-grass to the high Shifts, splits, and barreling Alcohol ofthe rocks, all the way from minnows flashing whole The bright brittle shallows, waiting for our momentum From here on out. It is true, we like our air warm And wild, and the bark ofour trees Overlapping backward and upward Stoutly, the shocks oftough leaves counterbalancing , with a flicker oflostness. Beside the dead, The straw-sucking marsh, we have stood where every blade Ofeelgrass thrilled like a hand-line For the huge bass hanging in the shade Ofthe sunken bush, and have heard the unstuffed moss Hiss like a laundry-iron. This point between The baskets and the tree is where we best Are, and would be: our soil, our soul, Our sail, our black horizon simmering like a mainspring, Our rocky water falling like a mountain Ledge-to-Iedge naturally headlong, Unstoppable, and our momentum For a Time and Place / 455 In place, overcoming, coming over us And from us from now on out. vessels When the sound offorest leaves is like the sleep-talk Ofhalf-brothers; when it trembles shorts itselfout Between branches, and is like light that does not cost Itselfany light, let me turn: turn right then, Right as it happens and say: I crave wandering And giving: I crave My own blood, that makes the body Ofthe lover in my arms give up On the great sparking vault ofher form, when I think instead Ofmy real brother, who talks like no leaf Or no half, and of the road he will be on As my body drops off And the step he takes from me Comes kicking, and he feels the starry head that has hovered Above him all his life come down on his, like mine Exactly, or near enough. Sleepers There is a sound you can make, as ifsomeone asked you To sing between oar strokes, or as though Your birth-cry came back, and you put it into sails Over water, or without vocal cords, like a torso, The EagleJs Mile / 456 ...


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MARC Record
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