Pastures where the grass round granite grows
and not immoderate greenness gives homage
to the long fight with clutched rock snowcap

with the sun near spoondrift in the wind, and cows
licking sunbaked snowsalt crusts on stones,
hooves akimbo under the bright etched map

of tropical isles in the goldribbed sky all summer
bespeak, in the noonheat, the rigour of cold climates,
as fishspine shoals, sunbleached when the tide’s out, show

the integrity of bone. Who would encumber
these huckleberryfields’ sparse opulence with tropics’
richesse? Wise clouds withhold vermilion snow.

   The seals who surface at the cove’s mouth
almost serve to humanize the seascape;
or does the unfootprinted pebbly shore

remind the poised osprey and the dun calf
that soft-eyed swimmers wreathed in ripplerobes
may be Poseidon’s myrmidons, that here

is present but one representative
alien by birthright’s will to those who ply
by fin, pinion, hoof, the unremitting

elements in whose capricious grace they live,
whose almost-mastered impulse is to try
bending to the will’s way the living, the unliving?