Looking Before and After


Carter Revard

Under the new pond-dam
a trickle
like a spring fills
old pools among
the button-bushes where you
step between rusting bedsprings
blackberry vines
persimmon trees & wild grape tangles and
where the matted grass gives
way to shining there is
footdeep water so clear that over
its brown silt bottom, haloes dazzle round the
shadows trailed by water-striders in
their spindly-crooked dimpling across its
springy surface so
each bright-edged darkness glides up to
and over brown crawdads bulldozing through
the mud-dust,
and see, one shadow-cluster is
a gliding skull whose two
great eyes stare above its
nose and three black teeth,
it wanders,
lunges, glides,
spins upside down and turns
to butterfly! that stops precisely underneath
an image of white larkspur nodding upon
the water's surface so it seems
that dimly there
among cruising crawdads a
butterfly of shadows tastes
sweet light again.

From Ponca War Dancers, Point Riders Press.

© 1980 Carter Revard

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