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224
Back in 194647
We'd turn fi rst to those poems by him,
when the new issue came out, though knowing
they would just be studies of fl owers --
brief, accurate, vivid -- diff erent
individual fl owers, their shapes, their
positions and balancings on their stems,
small movements special to them, the varying
gradations of light and shadow
to be watched for in their interiors --
quick-moving, elegant poems, though.
He was one of the crowd of us vets
on campuses right after the war.
He kept to the edges, was of us
but not among us. His laconic
observations -- off ered quietly with
his hands in his pockets as always
(we never saw him with a book) -- were admired,
not least for their genial and ever-
inventive use of the meager stock
of the stale obscenities in soldier talk.
None of us could say just when
he left that campus, on its hill
above the then pleasant city,
across which we could see, through
the then clear air, the blue Rockies
looking near. You could fi nd his poems
back there, in the library basement fi les --
that is, if the fi les still exist.
May, 1994