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the sum 293
Through noon my fi elds lay cold, fi elds that I sought
For stricter motive, suppler act and thought --
As I had worked them, they had fastened me
Into their workings, imperceptibly
Had edged me into their own silences.
I fl ed, made my own motion, furious.
Climbing the Platte along its southern arm,
I rode through foothills while a thunderstorm
Bellied from high bare scarps; quick lightning-joints,
Drawn by the lines of crest, struck veins and points,
Blind thunder banged the clefts and buttresses,
And then it passed; light fi lled the streaming trees.
-- Passed, and let in the river-noise; all night,
Camped at the canyon's mouth, I felt its weight.
The water's complicated roaring pressed
Over me in continuous arrest
Till it included me at every sound,
And fi lled by sleep, commotion without ground,
Equal to silence, merely happening.
I woke and would have shouted anything,
But could not reach the fi rst, in-breaking word.
It was as if nothing had quite occurred.
So deaf, I headed for the inner range
Through twisted, crumpled strata locked in change.
Then windy glacier meadows. To the west
The tundra jutted swiftly to a crest.
I tied my mare and angled up the face.
The summit was but rock, two-thirds in ice.
Beyond, below me, lay but further land.
An hour I stood there. If I touched an end,
Then upward (all space opened out) I won
My fi nal terror of the instant sun.
The wind was cold. It steadied, like a wall.
Neighbors had mentioned that the fi rst snowfall