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Under extremest skies, asundered mountains
Rift through the mist and are gone.
Marooned on a wall of vertigo, a single tree
Hangs long pause. Below, a plummet down,
Launching from a ravenous gorge,
Oiled in a slide of moil and whirl,
A river quickens,
Its smooth intent of impetus and purpose
Marbled with the lighter-darker
Darker-lighter weave and shift
Of switchback gravity flecked with foam.
In thrust of flood it threats from force to force
Until momentum,
Pitched by a rock, a heave of opposition,
Bursts splinter-spree, brief ice
Collapsing as it falls and spills
To the kick and jolt of lurch and gone,
As rapids in a boiling purge
Lynch down a chute to the avalanche leap
Where water rolling water sprints a cliff.
Crashing in sheer concussions,
Brute water falls as waterfall,
Gusting in spray and topple,
Plumed with the gush of foam, with whitest gash.
Hanging forever on the keynote of descent,
It falls,
The plunge of freezing steam
Booming in broils, in light cascading
To the terminal ravish of the rocks of descent.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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