background image
study of wild oats
Wild oats agile in the wind
at day's end, along the dusty track
going down-canyon -- Avena
said the fl ora, `common
weed of waste places
and open slopes' -- now
frantic in their innocent
agitation, twitch and thrash, now
looking but the more graceful
as they swing violently,
the strong sun of this late evening
burning white through the dried-out
husks that dangle, spaced
evenly in the loose
open panicles, little
shining spearheads, all of them
pointing one way and the whole
shining stand bending lower
under a stiff er wind -- they
vibrate, bright rustlers, shy
hissers of early summer
under the brown, still mountain,
its fl ank fi lling with shadow --
later on, after nightfall, and
the wind down, their exquisite
shapes standing motionless
unbroken in the clear night.