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in plain air 179
Under a low fogbank, the blackish tone
Of its belly darkening the waves and sand
And cliff s that block all view of the high land
Where the town sits in sunlight, I'm alone,
The beach is bare, the hard brown sand slopes down
Steeply to the low tide. From where I stand
No jogger rounds the point to scare the band
Of godwits from their meal. I'll start my run
Together with the dark sea running in
From a horizon turning steely bright
(Sun fi nishing its run where the fog's thin)
While jaegers and gulls keep up a running fi ght
Whirling sharp black against that piece of sky
The beach and cliff s run toward and likewise I.
liberté, fraternité
More fog. -- Have you seen a gross, heavy-legged deer?
Or in a fl ight of terns some with the bill
Twisted and blunt, some with stub wings, some small
As wrens? Imagine an ectomorphic bear.
No, shaped by the shapes of water and earth and air
They move in ruthless grace and crucial skill
Unfree and strong and evenly beautiful,
Unprovided with souls, completely clear and here.
I pass a poor old woman, six foot three,
Mannish, who has a heron's jerky stride,
Just as a well-built fellow passes me.
Next, hairy breasts swinging from side to side,
An obese youth rounds the point; and better weather
Brings many another of us out here together.