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12. god-light
Low dark cloud-cover and ocean make a pair
Of jaws held just apart; in the opening,
Where I now run, no room for anything
But the cliff s, now bleakly pale where they are bare.
At the horizon, a low, cold light just where
The sun has set; I watch it briefl y cling
At the sea's rim -- clear God-light, the real thing --
While I run on through suddenly darkening air.
Under the cliff s are sanderlings and plovers
Busy with their last feeding for the day;
And a few people -- a lone girl there, two lovers,
An old lady with her dog; and part way
Down the cliff ahead a house hangs, with a fl ight
Of stairs down to the beach, and window light.
13. house
Though days may pass and you'll see no one there
The place is lived in always. There was the sight
You could have seen in clear, still evening light,
Of a girl trimming a bearded young man's hair
Out on the littered deck, and you might hear
The little dog's wow-wow! when running late
And alone below; for months a drying skate
Swung under the deck, wetsuits and suchlike gear
Hang from the railings. Looks like a fi ne life.
Sometimes one of them waves as they come and go
Casually in view of us passersby below,
While they hang half in the air on the steep clay;
That the house is going, waves chewing away,
Is habit-knowledge with them, as between man and wife.
A big storm struck shortly after this was written, some of the cliff gave way, and one of the family
was interviewed in the paper: "I know what it's like to live with the sound of concrete popping,
but when you love to live here ...."