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the sum 291
Controlled, a brute of balance. On that trip
It gave good shade to me. -- I have since seen
My fenceline cottonwoods, in windy sheen,
Release bright drifts of seed, each speck of brown
Spun in a silken sprocket; fi eld and town
Catch them in clots of fl uff . When lucky air
Lodges one well, it builds its order there.
But generation's structuring of chance,
The fi ne dark interlockings in events --
The still interior of a thing, which is
Its history -- how could I know of these?
I had been lifted in a silent blast --
That nameless blaze had nearly had me fast.
I rested for an hour, and then rode on.
As the lesser glow of the late afternoon
Cooled in the washes cut through sandy banks,
I gained the last long rise, and saw the fl anks
Of fi elds beyond the Platte, harrowed for wheat
In trim square miles, held in the level light.
The whole land lay accomplished in one look.
Blue mountains backed the pastures, grazing stock,
Farm buildings, fences, fallow fi elds -- complete.
A woman on her porch shook out a sheet;
A horseman harried cattle with faint cries;
The low light bronzed the air below the rise.
My mare, feeling the reins go slack, had slowed,
Then paused, looked round at me, then at the road;
She stamped a forehoof; dust as fi ne as smoke
Lifted and softly coiled; before I spoke,
She slanted down the hill. As the dark came
We reached the town; and the next day, my claim.
I hired a hand, a strong, methodical,
Quick-laughing man who worked for me till fall,
Then drew his pay and left as if his work