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The Leaves
Is it the stationariness
of misery that makes it
so bad for the mind?
Motionless over his desk
under the steady brightness
of a small lamp, he hears
with pleasure the wind
in the darkness outside.
Sometimes it thuds on the house.
The house creaks familiarly
as if a big animal had bumped it
casually, in passing. The noise
of the sycamore leaves
rasping across the blacktop
comes in over the hum
of the heater, and some music turned down
on the radio. It is the world
out there, clear of him,
and holding him.
So: sitting enclosed
by his light, he and his light
by the windy darkness,
with this hangover pain
from a day's work in unwisdom,
what comes to him is no
illumination but, more useful,
a passage from the Journals
of Degas, with its incidental
and modest wisdom: `The bustle