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Wrong Notes

ISSUE:  Spring 2004

To bring the night sky to life,
                                          strike a wrong note from time to time.
Half for the listening ear, half for the watching eye.
Up here, just north of the Cabinet Mountains,
                                                                  the Great Bear
Seems closer to me than the equinox, or rinsed glints
In the creek hurrying elsewhere into evening’s undergrowth.

The same way with the landscape.
                                                  Our meadow, for instance,
Has two creeks that cross it;
                                          they join and become one about halfway down.
And that runs under my west window.
These are the flash and lapped scales
That trouble the late sunlight,
                                           and spark the moon fires and moon dregs.

At other times, it seems invisible, or they do,
Moving slowly in dark slides
                                         from beaver break to beaver break.
Muscling down from spruce shadow through willow shadow.
Above its margins the deer graze,
                                                  two coyotes skulk and jump,
And clouds start to herd together like wounded cattle.

And what does this matter?
                                        Not much, unless you’re one of those,
As I am, who hears a music in such things, who thinks,
When the sun goes down, or the stars do,
That the tune they’re doing is his song,
That the instruments of the given world
                                                          play only for him.


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