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The Speed Of Light

Written by: W S Merwin | Biography
 So gradual in those summers was the going
 of the age it seemed that the long days setting out
when the stars faded over the mountains were not
 leaving us even as the birds woke in full song and the dew
glittered in the webs it appeared then that the clear morning
 opening into the sky was something of ours
to have and keep and that the brightness we could not touch
 and the air we could not hold had come to be there all the time
for us and would never be gone and that the axle
 we did not hear was not turning when the ancient car
coughed in the roofer's barn and rolled out echoing
 first thing into the lane and the only tractor
in the village rumbled and went into its rusty
 mutterings before heading out of its lean-to
into the cow pats and the shadow of the lime tree
 we did not see that the swallows flashing and the sparks
of their cries were fast in the spokes of the hollow
 wheel that was turning and turning us taking us
all away as one with the tires of the baker's van
 where the wheels of bread were stacked like days in calendars
coming and going all at once we did not hear
 the rim of the hour in whatever we were saying
or touching all day we thought it was there and would stay
 it was only as the afternoon lengthened on its
dial and the shadows reached out farther and farther
 from everything that we began to listen for what
might be escaping us and we heard high voices ringing
 the village at sundown calling their animals home
and then the bats after dark and the silence on its road



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