The Dune

Susan Stewart

Now that the thread has caught fire,            the hem lies ragged.Now that the pain throbs deep,            the vein appears.The vacant sky above,            the funneled hours, the whirlingdays, each yanked away            to night that follows night.Now that the little lies            accrue into the vastincredulity, fear on fear            swells: a wave.Slipping down the dune or            climbing? Who can tell?The small cries, growing smaller,            fly past and vanish.Were they gulls or drowning children            –and who was meant to hearand who to act? The spare grass            dead beside the carapaceemerging. The shell soon cuts            its form into the strandand stays. You despaired,            abandoned,but then you saw            the cornflower, felledwithin the bramble, the menace in            the permanence of sand.

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Susan Stewart’s most recent books are Cinder: New and Selected Poems and The Ruins Lesson: Meaning and Material in Western Culture.

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Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Bard College

Editor: Bradford Morrow

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