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with imperviousness. But
I turn to one specimen:
viewed up close its old trunk
with its deep rough crevices
and hard ridges covered with
sharp protuberances is
a badlands: there's nothing here
to penetrate to, it says;
impassive, unmoving, dead.
Whereas the leaves, with their fi ne
patterns and movements that take
the eye are transitory
and expendable -- thousands
of them in agitation
all over, to the one trunk
almost featureless and like
nothing that's alive, whereby
the tree lives -- holds out and lasts,
standing over the big ditch
steady and astir also.
The brown water runs past it
in the summer; in late fall,
the ditch dry and the weather
dry, the leaves turn a brilliant
clear yellow -- it is startling,
the rough shining globe, against
the clear sky. The leaves fall then
in the ditch and are still bright