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I plowed and sowed and cropped it, made it tame --
So the facts were; yet they were roundabout.
By fall I knew that I had come in doubt.
Five thousand miles away and eight months back,
Having become habitual and slack
In means and aim, I had thought out a place
Blown clean of thought -- the clear winds would eff ace
Each scribbled trace of it; there I would drink
Purest perceptions down, and then would think,
While winds blew fresh each keen particular,
Exacter, suppler thought: no edge would blur.
I saw a plain, a sky. There I began.
I was to be an instantaneous man
Dark and exact against bright emptiness --
I think the nugget-diggers sought no less.
Indeed, I rode through such a place, fi ve days
Out of Dodge City. Earth was a white blaze.
Lizards clung fl at in it. Dissolved in light,
The distance jerked and rippled out of sight.
I was moving through a county of no name;
I watched my perfect shadow; fl atly same,
It slid unfl awed through scanty rigid grass
Vibrating in the wind. I could but pass
Each instant as the instant's functioning,
Yet could not quite, like the throbbing lizard, cling
So pure, taking each instant as eternal,
So helpless, physics of light my speechless journal.
My horse had quickened; it was noon. Ahead
The road dropped gently to a river-bed.
A cottonwood gave us a place to enter --
Of all that vacant fl aring the dark center,
Scarred and historical, from root to tip