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Deep Second

Now when the plane-stirred winds drew down the enraptured


I fell upon the slow-awakened past of joy

Eagerly, eagerly, going forth to dawn-dance

Diving blithely as a boy

Plunging arrogantly twenty years through ordered space,

And when to my older eyes the town appeared reduced

dowdy as a worn-out doll

tossed into a corner of a newer city

There was only this to do; accept,

Accept the smack, smack! of Time upon my flanks and plunge me


Into that inner past to fit

The puzzle of now and then together;

The girl and woman, man and boy;

Blue kites against bluer sky and silver planes

Swimming beneath the surface of the air as we once swam

Fish-like beneath the Arbuckle Mountain streams.

And learn that streets loom larger in the mind than ever

Upon the arches of hills:

That kisses linger in the memory as indelibly as the pain

Or harsh words thrown through adolescent anger.

Fined too, the dream which went before the passion,

(That child father to the childish man) of him who dedicated me

And set me aside to puzzle always the past and wander blind

within the present,

Groping where others glide, stumbling where others stroll in


And now returning after all the years to crawl the paths most


Had forgotten. My second coming into deep second

Between two frontier hills, that world bounded by Walnut and


And then the enraptured dawn at last possessing

That which all the others would now have lost:

The path still vivid, the old walks layered beneath present ways;

The inner houses behind the present walls revealed;

The earlier birdsong sounding behind the now-dawn's awakening


And all the past was shaken up, and all the old speech singing

In the wind, and their once clear skins and once bright eyes

Looking through to see me in my passions venture.

Recaptured, held, their promise still a promise and all their days


In my awakened eyes. And me a red cock flaming on the hill,

Dying of the fire of past and present, and yet exalting

That in me and only me live forever.

I who can give no life but of the word would give them all—

Their past unsullied and their present gleaming with


Their fathers rich with humanity and their mothers beautiful

And lovely. And their thoughts true and their actions wise.

And from that past we knew,

Would make for their children a dew-fresh world.

Oh, I would them make of us all heroes and fliers,

Even now, though where once our blue kites dipped and sailed

I now plunge past in silvery planes—

Even in the Now, where derricks rise and engines throb upon our

playing fields

And young girls laugh and glide with the room wherein my

father died

and where my mother learned the grave transcendence of

her pain—

Would make their heroes and world-makers and world-lovers,

And teach them the secret of that limping walk, that look

of eye,

That tilt of chin, the world-passion behind that old back-alley


Which sings through my speech more imperious than trumpets

or blue train sounds—

Yes, would heal the sick of heart and raise the dead of spirit

And tell them a story

Of their promise

And their glory.

Would sing them a song

All cluttered with my love and regret

And my forgiveness

And tell them how the flurrying of their living shaped

Time past and present into a dream

And how they live in me

And I in them