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GROUNDS, By Stephen Yenser

August 15, 1993

Well, that's an end of that.

And houses really do fall down--

At least they do in that province

Where they are rarely pulled down

Before they've had a chance

To give in to the tremors, freezes, vines.

The old Clos out behind was falling down,

So we were told by our landlady

Through whose blue-filtered, unfilmed time exposures

We saw the villa with its vanished vineyard,

Whose last first-place award

Under September's thunderstorms fast fades

Its true blue streak, its shades of lie-de-vin,

Shades of your last year's new maquillage,

Down its namesake's whitewash . . .

Enough. Back here the winds come up,

Hoping to have some caution thrown to them,

Now silence has been broken like a camp.

From "The Fire in All Things" by Stephen Yenser. (Louisiana State University Press: $15.95.) This collection won the Academy of American Poets' 1992 Walt Whitman Award. Yenser has taught English at UCLA since 1968. He is the author of "The Consuming Myth: The Work of James Merrill" and Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowell."

Reprinted by permission .

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