Easy to forget, how shadows
are light’s creatures, out of dark,
out of thinning dark come
delicately, then sharply. Sun puts them there.

True to the last frond, bole, blowing
crest, bush’s perimeter,
by light shaped from darkness
their elegant black duplications
silent, accurate.

On the hot grass, featureless
the woman’s shadow, and the bird’s
in its swift shadow-passage.
Nothing so poor it lacks its dark
companion.

Four senses cannot catch them. Try
to touch one, and touch wood, grass,
or skin; try to hear, and hear
only all sounds. Try to bring
one to your lip.

Or try for fragrance. No, only
sight, just the incredulous eye
deserted by its fellows, can stare
into that dark mirror which
is a shadow.

Strange: the ultimate shadow
cut from imagination, cannot cast
itself across a somber slope.
By which it follows that the valley
requires brightness.