background image
in plain air 205
sanderlings here
A low fog bank to run inside today,
Wave-noises muffl
ed, near cliff s blurred and pale.
Fog-puff s come down, each spreading a black tail,
A black bill aimed at the sand. And a slight gray
Movement ahead suddenly swerves this way
And a whole fl ock gleams cleanly purposeful
Against the drifting vapor. Now they all
Vanish up there, sheering themselves away.
And near the fi nish, a fl at stretch, bits of shells
And pebbles lift a little and begin
To travel along the water ahead of me --
Sanderlings, running in the fog or else
Low-gliding, I here running heavily
As faintly they shape unshape and shape again.
"who prop, thou ask'st, in these
bad days, my mind?"
Yeh, summer beach, young riders thudding past
Punching out clear hoofprints beside the white
Spill of the waves, against the low sun's light
The black shapes of the horsemen dwindling fast,
And here, attached to each of the sand-crumbs cast
Beside the hoofprints, a little stalactite
Of shadow, while I mope along and fi ght
The gloom my reading's put me in last ...
Cheer up. What if you must throw in your lot
With Gittingses and Thompsons now, and not
Go back to those they've told on for the ages,
Those monsters Hardy and Frost. You'll get, God knows,