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after work: foreword
Home, then out of the canyon and inch past
Shopping center, school; inch over freeway;
Veer with the creek that notches the pale clay
Headlands and I am at the place at last.
The shoreline hereabouts runs east and west.
Clear days there's islands to be seen, any day
Sky, sand, waves, light, birds, dogs, people. I'd say
Late in the day in winter is when it's best.
Down the long, slant beach, and the wave-tips catch
The sun's low fi re, the wet sand's all red light,
The shorebirds eat red light -- and all goes gray
The moment you turn back the other way,
Cliff s, sea, and sky a great cave, in dead light;
And the fresh darkness settling, in the stretch.
down here after being kept
away three weeks by sickness
How much I missed this place. While I've been gone
The season has turned, the winter birds are here,
The sand is fi rm, clean, smooth, and the air clear
With a wave fl ashing cold in the low sun
Under the slow wingbeats of a pelican
That three pilfering gulls keep swinging near,
Whimbrels and godwits and plovers and killdeer
Work the sleek shallows, I begin to run:
Easy, now. But I swear the beach gives back
My footthuds like the tightly stretched buckskin
It looks like here, the blazing water track
Of the sun's running beside me -- coming in
The old ocean commotion and the dark mass
Of a jogging girl's hair jouncing as we pass.