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the sum 289
the death of a buffalo
out of Parkman
Heavily from the shadeless plain to the river
The bull slants down and bends his head to draw
Bright water in, that goes unbroken ever.
He pauses, water threading from his jaw,
Impenetrably as he is, and old.
And, while the harsh beard drips and shines, the shore
Beyond grows fl ashing grasses. Through the cold
Water he lifts a foreleg, as before,
Showing the naked spot the ball drives through.
A shiver. The coming hour, the windy grass
Under the suns beyond him, these he knew,
Knows and shall know. They make no shift to pass
Through death. Death is the elsewhere, an unwit
Of the great body down, this side of it.
Colorado, 1885
for Edward Loomis and John Williams
I came in eighty-fi ve, but not for gold.
My wife and child with friends, my goods all sold,
My farewells quickly said, I boarded ship,
We left the Thames and wallowed past the tip
Of Land's End, beat through winter seas to dock
At Boston; next, shut up in noise and shock,
I came by train to Kansas; and by horse
A week's ride westward, reining with the course
Of the Platte River till I reached my claim.