- Maybe the mind works like centuries of erosion,
The runoffs and channels mostly bone-dry and then flooded
With a wall of water out of the desert, itself absorbed
Almost instantly into the cracked ground and leaving
Only a thin layer of fine sludge like a train of thought.
Over time the larger formations appear, personality
And prejudice, a manner of speaking, assuming all sorts
Of fantastic shapes, climbing into the atmosphere
And achieving a shimmering air of grandeur and intent.
Of course, much is washed away that these may remain,
And the landscape of youth is ravaged beneath us.
Whatever is extraneous, or delicate, or less than tenacious,
Has less chance than a pack rat in the progress of ages,
Less chance than our own acts and inmost reflections
Stand in a lifetime of vanishing memories.
And so we are left with monuments, resembling so much,
To soften the harsh light into shadows and their hues,
To make something like beauty out of such earth.
From Terms to be Met by George Bradley, Yale University Press,
© 1986 George Bradley
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