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GLEN BEAUDRY WISDOM OF A DUSTY ROAD it stretches out, moves its red knuckles past the barn, the toolshed, towards the lateritic bank where Joad was poisoned. So long has it been there cultivated by barefoot boys on their way to fish that it nearly has forgotten how it had been hoed loose from a field of cotton, the clods broken free under a drifting fleece winds took up to wipe upon the skies: but now under burning noon as the cane-poles pass .the memory comes out sharp and if it could the loamy throat would open up like a swamped boat to toss out life-rings to Ryan, Eldridge, and Reese, turning in the green water under the bottle-flies. The mill upstream has marked with slight soot the gravelled shoulder and left fingerprints on the incline where the road goes down into a sort of darkness, undergrowth about the sun holding it back until late day over the water gives the perfect slant and it can come acutely in to the bar to fling a small circle around the propped poles and swing a bit upon the string like the hooked cat lazily nibbling at the dead worm's shrivelled fat, while out there a soft rustling like slow moles digging down into moss goes on as swimmers start to stare downward with the fish, slipping like the barometer downward into its mystery, the mercury eased in to itself, into its own shadow beneath the glass skin where it is clotted like a millenial burr, almost as if it had shrunk from some ungovernable pain. 43 And the knowledge of the snake as it appears in a soft track, taking a sidewise shuffle towards the bolls, seems traced upon the road in congruent mystery as it nears its arena: for anyone to see: or fixed upon it like the clapper against the bell as it beats a bitter message for all to hear, a sounding scrawl upon the divisions of the day as its toll tells. THEORY OF ANGELS Out of knowledge some elegant computation like the meaning of stars: remember the Indians' village fires, woodsmoke ris ing against the moon or the dark helmets of Hessians under their packs and their snores creeping across the river's icy bone. Before science the scribbling on stone and scouring sand sailing on the sun and dhows turning in a green twilight, green below the aching amethyst of Saturn, the meanderer looping like an endless Nile through night's forest far from its image, the source boiling in oblivion. The many that danced in his minaret mind when midnight moved on the campanile and frescoes shone with a thousand eyes bright sienna and bloody hair burned above the baptistry, above the wanton wine around like Saturn's rings at end of air, all sheen and silver sunlight on his brain and beams and golden gyres rose again in mauve medallions, green rain, rapprochment of riddles riding the frothy air: counted them all into forever, the finite universe, his fingers twitching with the music, the aurora chorus spread out through the milky way full golden, until the final sum was simple, was plain. ...


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pp. 43-44
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