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Page 66

Part of the illusion of random motion
in the juddering of bare winter trees
comes from the way of winds
in many trees at once, the saplings
bending further and at a faster
pendulum rate than the thicker-trunked
and trees in one row moving one way
while those a row behind or in front
move another,

winds seeming to travel through trees
on parallel, but staggered courses,
perhaps in a Vee, like geese, so that
one gust's invisible wing brushes against
its swath of trees just before the next gust
nudges the neighboring swath, bending it
forward as the first trees recover,
swinging back, row after row going through,
each, its own sets of motions (according to
flexibility within each row) like one stage set
behind another, each drop trembling
its own way.

Why do the droplets on the window move
in starts and stops? Collision with dust?
With other drops? Why do I write these words,
no others? One wind through all of us,
staggered? Many winds?

There's something in all that. The body's
a machine. I know little about it --
have no operator's licence, can't tell an enzyme
from a protein. Even a poem is a machine.
For example, this one's about due for its
"And yet...", and yet I write these words,
no other words, written by no other I.

Note: Some dictionaries omit "judder" (and my word processing software wants to substitute "udder"), but it's easy to find on the WWW. In stanza 2, "each drop trembling" refers to stage drops – the painted settings that can be dropped (like curtains) at the back of the stage.

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