22 Visitation No running is the doctor’s order. Glumly enough To walk along and watch the other runners run, And the sky fires up smoky crimson, and the sun Slips into a sea suddenly darkening and rough Out from the shore. Tide’s out. Where the sand levels off And where I like to go, the water’s coming on In terraces, shining layers, the nearest one So thin it is a skin of light to trudge and scuff And watch the slowly deepening color on, until There is my holy of holies: a sandy-floored recess Under the cliffs, half hidden behind a rock outcrop. Always when I am running this is where I stop And turn back. What now? Careful! A brief pause, I guess, With the merest sidelong glance will do or nothing will. It was a Greek mistake to connect the sacred with the permanent, the sacred being phenomenal like everything else, and the transient conjunction of chance and those necessities whose most apt expression is mathematical. Three weeks after this poem was done, the holy place was destroyed by the combination of a high winter tide and huge waves that changed the shapes of the cliff-bases and heaped storm-wreckage — much of it freshly splintered trees — high up against them. 45