Nature Of That Country

Nature of that country there are hills,
Rounded, blunt, burned, squeezed up out of chaos
Looking plains full of intolerable sun glare,
Narrow valleys drowned in blue haze.
Hill surface is streaked with ash drift.
After rains water in hallows of small closed valleys,
Evaporating, leaves hard dry levels of pure desertness.
Mountains are steep and rains heavy
The pool is never quite dry, but dark and bitter.
Thin crust lies along the marsh over the vegetating area,
Has neither beauty nor freshness.
Open to the wind sand drifts in hummocks about the stubby shrubs.
Sculpture of hills is more wind than water work,
Though quick storms do scar them past many a year’s redeeming.
This hill country one find springs, but not depend upon them;
For when found they are brackish and unwholesome,
Or maddening, slow dribbles in a thirsty soil.
High rolling districts where air has always a tang of frost.
Here long heavy winds and breathless calms on tilted mesas
Dust devils dance, whirling up into a wide, pale sky.
No rain when all Earth cries for it,
Or quick downpours called cloud- bursts for violence.
Land of lost rivers, with little in it to love;
Yet a land once visited must come back to.
If it were not so there would be little told of it.



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