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the heat lightning 259
when I examined the trunk
I saw clearly, down one side,
the stain left by the fl uid;
though the spongy depression
had largely healed some time since,
in one spot I found some wet
soft bark; it smelt like moist earth.
That is the site of the dream.
I approach and a cavern
slopes upward into the huge
interior of the tree.
At the threshold I look up
and see on the crest in light
(a regular, clear nimbus)
a great deer standing quietly;
in the cave's natural dark
the deer is wholly visible.
It looks at me; its eye shines.
I have no inclination
to approach any closer;
according to the dream's plan
I've had a look at my life
which is all I was to do --
that was the feeling at fi rst;
then the sense of the dream changed --
the deer was merely life
itself, being presented
in repose for a moment,
so that I could look at it.
So the tree stirs readily
in my mind -- stirred yesterday
when I saw some of its kind
being felled a mile westward,