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Clifton Gorge

    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.
                             —Gerard Manley Hopkins

Balsam floods the woods,
    swathing our senses
like moss swaddles roots and earth.
    Ferns flutter in the shadow
of the wind moving through,
    while we descend into the sanctuary
of the gorge like the sun lowers
    its long beams through the green
lattice of leaves above. We hope
    to hit bottom as the thrush

throws its deep voice across the ravine
    where a woodpecker knocks on a door
of oak and a lip of limestone loosens,
    tumbles down, greets us at the stream,
which even now rips through rock,
    then pools its energy along the banks
where minnows animate
    the ruin, stirring the cup
brimming with revival, their small bodies,
    flashes of hallelujah.

Julie L. Moore

Particular Scandals
Cascade Books

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