background image
the heat lightning 257
gravel sliding down a slope;
if the breeze strengthens, the sound
becomes a voluminous
general hissing; stronger still,
and the hissing becomes a
roar of massive excitement --
as if a cyclone had struck.
All these sounds are the sounds
of her present, passing, while
her trunk and limbs, hard things, dream
permanently, beneath sound
the dream of air and rock
and water, things around in
inorganic splendor. -- Now
from the leaves I can tell how
at its quietest the air moves
in eddies, isolated
short currents, streams with dead spots ...
Each leaf in a given bunch
is behaving diff erently;
none are the same size or shape,
all are versions; one fl apping
while another seems to whirl
though in fact it oscillates;
another swings hectically
back and forth while its neighbor
hangs still; one fl ops over and
back, now, slowly; another
vibrates, the whole cluster sways.
I single out one leaf: it
begins to tremble, then wags
violently. The breezes
start, quit, and start up again