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North Country

by
 North Country, filled with gesturing wood, 
With trees that fence, like archers' volleys, 
The flanks of hidden valleys 
Where nothing's left to hide 

But verticals and perpendiculars, 
Like rain gone wooden, fixed in falling, 
Or fingers blindly feeling 
For what nobody cares; 

Or trunks of pewter, bangled by greedy death, 
Stuck with black staghorns, quietly sucking, 
And trees whose boughs go seeking, 
And tress like broken teeth 

With smoky antlers broken in the sky; 
Or trunks that lie grotesquely rigid, 
Like bodies blank and wretched 
After a fool's battue, 

As if they've secret ways of dying here 
And secret places for their anguish 
When boughs at last relinquish 
Their clench of blowing air 

But this gaunt country, filled with mills and saws, 
With butter-works and railway-stations 
And public institutions, 
And scornful rumps of cows, 

North Country, filled with gesturing wood– 
Timber's the end it gives to branches, 
Cut off in cubic inches, 
Dripping red with blood.

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