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Elegy For Jane

 (My student, thrown by a horse)

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,

A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her; The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing, And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.
Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth, Even a father could not find her: Scraping her cheek against straw, Stirring the clearest water.
My sparrow, you are not here, Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me, Nor the moss, wound with the last light.
If only I could nudge you from this sleep, My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.

by Theodore Roethke
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