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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Roads
(mostly glimpses of Ashfield's roads -
with a nod to Wallace Stevens)
 
 
 
1. Sudden uphill spurt
....Brings my ailing car stuttering
... Into tall, dark woods;
... My breath catches.
 
2. .The standing she-bear
... Across the yellow meadow
... Finally lumbers down and away
... As I brake onto the road's wide shoulder.
 
3. Aching heart-colors meeting overhead
... Transform the roadway
... Into a leafy autumn cathedral above me;
... Their unplanned consolation hurts.
 
4. A touring car full of shouting children;
... A black roadside rock bisected
... By a long and twisted snake of white quartz
... Tells us we are nearly there. Hallelujah!
 
5. You'd never know
... Unless you'd been there
... What losing so many of the tall maples
... Along our main street
... Did to the wholeness of our town.
 
6. Highway 9 in autumn
... Creates a hazard to driving safety
... The shag carpet in rainbow colors
... That covers the hills we pass through
... Dazzles the eye, distracts the mind,
... Fills the heart.
 
7. Sheen of silver sunlight on dark blue water
... As I pass so quickly, so quickly -
... Scent of pond water, coolness of moving air,
... Then back again to hot asphalt
... And my need to hurry on.
 
8. Coming over the rise presents me
... With a panorama of dark river,
... A clump of tall buildings, a snarl of roadways,
... Bordered by the descent to a bridge
... That beckons my reluctant heart
... To return to the city place I tried to leave behind
... Along with the pain.
 
9. Dirt roads are the best roads of all! -
... But not in the winter!
 
10. The rattle of washboard
... ,Still lives deep in my sitting bones -
... , Bones that contacted their sharpened ridges
... ,.As we drove them in the long ago
... , Of unpaved summer Dakota highways.
 
11. Coming round a bend,
... , The mingled fragrance of the ocean
... , Cancels decades of living without it,
... , And I am reborn in its salty, fishy, seaweedy ambiance.
 
12. The urges to see again
... , The haunts of one's past
... , Will only create the longed-for satisfaction
... , When roads that lead there
... , Still serve as alchemical transformers.
 
13. Home road,
... , Away road,
... , Road upward,
... , Road downward,
... , Road straight,
... , Road curving,
... , Ah, roads!
 
........................MML October, 2000
 
 
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