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Head of Sorrow, Head of Thought

You would think that no one

had the right to so much

distance and calm.

And yet how often do we see,

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clouded and still,

the face of someone gone

out of himself

into stone or water?

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The rider in the train,

escaped into the glass fields;

the watcher in the garden,

changed once to a leaf,

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now to the cold light on a

pond.

Face of the storm, we say,

we have faced you,

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heard you howling within,

quelling the atoms

of a bruised, exacting heart

. . .

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She, who out of the tempest,

came to this calm,

gazing as if from a distance

made equally of granite and

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cloud.

1985

From “New Poems: 1980-1988" (Story Line Press: $9.95 paperback; 96 pp.; 0-934257-45-0). A former recipient of an Alaska State Council on the Arts Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Haines has homesteaded in Alaska for more than a quarter of a century. For the last two years, he has served as a guest writer - in - residence at Ohio University. 1990, John Haines. Reprinted by permission of Story Line Press.


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