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water among the stones 93
"They were old-fashioned Poetry, but choicely good ..."
homage to w.c.w.: the prickly phlox
The tiny alpine fl owers, tundra
blossomers in the Arctic, the wildfl owers
of these coast mountains, say
this prickly phlox, this April
in the hard canyon wind
down the Matilija, amid
the drab hugeness and harshness
all around, half frozen, by gravity
gripped and splayed; bitten,
wrinkled and dried by the heat,
whipped by winds, burnt down
to a black stub by wildfi re --
look, made small, made
defi nite, here it roots,
under the brush, in the rocks
with its clean pink petals
arching back, fl ared from their centers, all
straightforward ardor, distinct
in its requirements and opening out
completely with a delicate fragrance:
intricate and exquisite grave system
of living, in this just-suffi
cient zone
of indiff erence where, for now,
the big and little forces,
just balancing, cancel out,
amid which protection
unprotected (the physical universe
being Greek, as under that hard
to make out, fearful `justice
of Zeus' you fi nd in Homer