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  • On a given Sunday,

    standing on the crest of land above the plain,

    I watch the road,

    its litany of mutters and chiding rises and falls

    like waves in some impatient sea,

    lapping at the shore below,

    a constant rippling, rushing arising

    from disturbances far offshore

    sounding against the granite bones of the land

    in an endless seeking surge of foam and roil.

    The streaming cars, glinty bright as bubbles,

    swept up and on, while those within

    never know the wind.

    After a time, I turn away,

    Wander from the path,

    following contour, track, and ridge,

    until I find,

    tucked in a fold of the hills

    an olive grove.

    Rows of dark and gnarled trunks

    twined and twisted limbs

    black with rot where wind and age have taken their toll.

    Last night’s frost clutched among the shadows

    while through the fine fretted canopy of silver green,

    shafts of light stand like pillars

    from the earth, so dark richly silent

    carpeted with centuries of fallen leaves.

    The fields around are fallow

    the track deeply rutted

    the orchard pebbled with fallen olives

    the rusted gate propped up with a stone

    a faded 'Se Vende' sign hangs askew.

    Perhaps, I think,

    in better times

    the land would be made to pay.

    Perhaps, I think,

    in better times,

    the king stopped here before the hills.


    In the end, I gave the grove its measure of silence

    and then walked on.

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