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non est, ut putas, virtus, pater,
timere vitam, sed malis ingentibus
obstare nec se vertere ac retro dare.

—Seneca, Phoenissae

With all things fading, fadeless here alone,
though blunted by neglect, dislodged, displaced,
though yellowed, blemished, dulled, and waterlogged,
they left their lure:
Those endless woodland depths
that guard the bogs, those dried roots jutting out,
and deeper mires overgrown with grass,
moss-matted stumps with lichen tufts that line
alone the unkept face of wandering paths,
oak-leaves that rustle, murmuring as if
with rumours overheard in dreams or some
obscure prophetic truth that, whispered, falls
beneath to weeds with anthills, nests, and pits;
all, soaked with droplets from the rusted stream,
have kept that mystic mode of memory—
The same forgotten cadences of woods
that creak with winds—those woodsall nourished by
the earth—the earth that took my father’s flesh
and feasted as it festered, flaked, and fled—
that earth on which I stand—the air that moves
through me—through me the spirit will descend
to where we could not come again with words.

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