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The Night, The Porch, By Mark Strand

May 23, 1999

To stare at nothing is to learn by heart

What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself

To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.

Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.

What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort

Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux

Of the matter, which is why even now we seem to be waiting

For something whose appearance would be its vanishing--

The sound, say, of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf,

Or less. There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there

Tells us as much, and was never written with us in mind.

From "Blizzard of One: Poems" by Mark Strand (Alfred A. Knopf: 64 pp., $21)

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