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the desolation light
I came down here one dusk and the beach was gone.
The winter tides were easing it out to sea,
Shelving it down and down, when suddenly
A storm came through and scoured it to the stone --
A jumble of stone; and the sky having done
Its damage loosened up, pale vacancy
Between a lot of ragged cloud debris
Scattering fast, foam yellow and waves brown,
The sea, too, loosened and sprawling, sunk so low
That stubs of rock under for months now showed.
Air darkened as if a curtain had been drawn,
And shining as if for meditating on
Was a tidepool that the gray light had fi lled
To brimming where a simple stillness held.
RAVAGED BY NATURE, says the local News,
BEACHES ARE DYING -- naturally I read on,
How one day these thin margins will be gone
For good, new sand held back by the dams we use
On our best streams while the sea slowly chews
The old away, back to the cliff s and down
To the stones. And nowhere then to run or sun.
Any dark place can say what else you'll lose:
The canyon air that fl oats the alder leaf,
The light on the creek, and the creek too, will go;
And the ground under, where it had to fl ow.
Your sons, and the dear woman who is half your life,
And the two eyes you see both with and through
Will go; and your skeleton; and your spirit, too.