background image
Earth's a great harsh gaunt garden
here, made of spiny chaparral,
And cliff s, bare crests, dry stony slopes,
the fan that opens, desolate,
Scattered with boulders, below
this canyon; and, running through,
Narrow, bright and chill among its stones,
the Matilija. -- Born
Somewhere in all this, on his own
from birth, in the fi t
And hard gloss of his scales,
eye of translucent, dry horn,
Or some clear stone, for his seeing, strange
but, still, seeing:
He lifts his head at last, done
with drinking, and without haste
Or hesitation winds out over the water --
not toward the far bank
But downstream, steering purposefully
between the rocks, the current
Very fast down there, he lifting his head higher,
moving rapidly now with an air
Of matter-of-fact eagerness into the loud water
smashing itself solid white
Among the boulders jammed together
below, where he vanishes.