THE MOUSE ON THE TRAIL

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Plateau that borders the river stands

above the mighty falls the streams come from the mountains,

each lonely trail is carven on rock, on pebble, on sand.

Falls like lace in slow motion to conceal

the perpendicular surface of earth that is hard and unrelenting.

Turns each indifferent pebble round and round

smooth as smooth, each grain of sand carven as carven suggestions in millions of shuffling feet on every plane of thought.

The tiniest flake is a cliff, the merest trickle of water a deluge.

The massive changes strip the mountains that are obliterated   like shadows though they seemed unchanging.

The clouds cook the mountainsides. The trail lasts down   the falls and vanishes in smoke, a sea of mist, the ocean of time.

And so the timeless feet follow from the mountainsides

to seek what was once substance and is now apparition

a tunnel through the caverns of the earth like a swallow

that enters a black cave bright with moisture and drops of quicksilver, the pursued and the pursuer, the aerial and the profound, Orpheus in an underworld kingdom.

The giant flakes stand edge to edge to perfect the early traces of doom and remembrance, the original catastrophes of moving, organisms fish or eel dashed against the valleys of rocks.

The great Fall thunders, its voice inarticulate, its body smooth like the scales on every overhanging hill.

The organic stream of life swells or diminishes, cloaks its secret trail or opens its charm.

Deep intoxicating is the valley of its awareness.

Beneath the vast lip of the old World

It hangs like smoke over the earth, green as promising,

sparkling as living, spangled with undecipherable moss.

The bottomless stream seems to stand still and look back to the vanished mountains.