Further On

by A.R. Ammons

Up this high and far north
it’s shale and woodsless snow:
small willows and alder brush

mark out melt streams on the
opposite slope and the wind talks
as much as it can before freeze

takes the gleeful, glimmering
tongues away: whips and sticks
will scream and screech then

all winter over the deaf heights,
the wind lifting its saying out
to the essential yell of the

lost and gone: it’s summer now:
elk graze the high meadows:
marshgrass heads high as a moose’s

ears: lichen, a wintery weed,
fills out for the brittle sleep:
waterbirds plunder the shallows.

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