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with clean, scalloped edges
gripping the ground
with the just-visible
sharp hooks at their tips.
Once a doctor, treating
some other affl
iction, had told him
`No alcohol' and thereupon
at the end of the day,
he would take one swallow
of no substitute, but
absolutely the real thing,
straight from the bottle,
in its full -- if transient --
restorative powers
(then he let the ritual
lapse). -- What had Saint Ben
said, in his shining iambics,
but the whole truth? -- `In small
proportions we just
beauties see: and in
short measures, life
may perfect be....'
On that rise, with the great trees
around and above him
with their sounds and movements
and with them the distant,
fi tful sound of the river,
he had entered a state