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Ascent To The Sierras

 Beyond the great valley an odd instinctive rising
Begins to possess the ground, the flatness gathers 
 to little humps and
barrows, low aimless ridges,
A sudden violence of rock crowns them.
The crowded orchards end, they have come to a stone knife; The farms are finished; the sudden foot of the slerra.
Hill over hill, snow-ridge beyond mountain gather The blue air of their height about them.
Here at the foot of the pass The fierce clans of the mountain you'd think for thousands of years, Men with harsh mouths and eyes like the eagles' hunger, Have gathered among these rocks at the dead hour Of the morning star and the stars waning To raid the plain and at moonrise returning driven Their scared booty to the highlands, the tossing horns And glazed eyes in the light of torches.
The men have looked back Standing above these rock-heads to bark laughter At the burning granaries and the farms and the town That sow the dark flat land with terrible rubies.
lighting the dead.
It is not true: from this land The curse was lifted; the highlands have kept peace with the valleys; no blood in the sod; there is no old sword Keeping grim rust, no primal sorrow.
The people are all one people, their homes never knew harrying; The tribes before them were acorn-eaters, harmless as deer.
Oh, fortunate earth; you must find someone To make you bitter music; how else will you take bonds of the future, against the wolf in men's hearts?

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