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SMITH, A.J.M.



The Lonely Land


Cedar and jagged fir

uplift sharp barbs

against the gray

and cloud-piled sky;

and in the bay

blown spume and windrift

and thin, bitter spray

snap

at the whirling sky;

and the pine trees

lean one way.


A wild duck calls

to her mate,

and the ragged

and passionate tones

stagger and fall,

and recover,

and stagger and fall,

on these stones -

are lost

in the lapping of water

on smooth, flat stones.


This is a beauty

of dissonance,

this resonance

of stony strand,

this smoky cry

curled over a black pine

like a broken

and wind-battered branch

when the wind

bends the tops of the pines

and curdles the sky

from the north.


This is the beauty

of strength

broken by strength

and still strong.