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No Edge, No Falling

after Elizabeth Bishop

Here not waterfalls: scrubby plats of gorse and heather
—a few stray dabs of yellow torn
by stinging winds. We've come
cross rutted track and granite stiles,
along the apertures of fields,
"to stare at some inexplicable old stonework"—
nineteen huddled rocks, nineteen obelisks,
a ring of stones in ancient reformation.

Stark and pricked, wayward:
every footpath this late autumn leads
to stonework ruins draped by fog-ghosts
—the lanky beauties rising cross the heath
not oak but chimney stacks, hearth-less and chill.
If hungering for anything, we're hungering for fire—
a burst of red to break the endless heath,
a bonfire to warm these age-old stones.
But listen, in the wind there is a voice—
it isn't only hardship that I offer.

Not only, but ocean dusted blue
which crests against striated crops of granite,
a rocky, disbelieving headland;
and there, beyond, a horizon line so far, so smudged
there is no edge or falling.

Geri Doran

New England Review

Volume 33, Number 3 / 2012

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