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Late orange light reflected from the lake
Leaps up into the mountain’s shade,
And suddenly a crouching wind
Claws at pale, trembling aspen leaves;
A startled elk, foamed water dripping
From his lips, retreats back from the shore,
His wary head held stiffly high
As in an earlier imaging.
Perhaps this scene may be composed
Of some sharp sliver of a memory
As if I once lived by a lake; maybe a dream
Of languid autumn water darkening,
Of loons lamenting my heart’s own lament”
For what? for whom? I can’t recall
The real cause of my gloom or what
I thought the startled elk’s eyes meant.
Dissolved in forest shade, the elk
Huddles among hushed fallen leaves, and I
Can see his lurking absence everywhere
My glum mind seeks to look,
And I can listen to the aftermath
Of moaning loon calls intermingling
All across the undulating lake
Along the sprung wind’s swirling path.
And I myself also have vanished
From the rippling shade of aspen leaves,
Except as whirling consciousness,
Like lilting loon calls echoing
Over lake water when the loons depart,
And wind returns to linger just as wind,
And looming mountain peaks merge with blank sky,
And silence settles in my silent heart.

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