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in plain air 147
And this bare dry ground
Prompts me to refl ect
No man walks beside
Athene the clear-eyed,
She was born complete
Of the bright-lit myth
Where she keeps her distance
From the shadowed earth;
From the twisted trees
Standing here, for instance,
Catching the sea breeze --
Slow to grow and bear,
Whether here or elsewhere
Cultivated stocks
Grafted to the wild
(Mixture in the shoot)
Able to hold out
For the dusty farmer
Through the longest drought,
Grappled in the rocks;
The black, bitter fruit
Yielding a clear oil
That once symboled human
Plenty and good will,
Bitter turning mild
In the hands of skill
For the kind of peace
Households need -- all this
Sponsored by a woman
Who was born in armor
And who bore no child.