Incident in the Sublime
From the bluff the world below looks miniature,
But by what scale is something miniature,
A few brown fields bordered by evergreens?
Once, in Montana, a small girl slipped
At the edge of a prospect, and a man
Walking behind her, distractedly lost,
Reached without thinking and caught her upraised arms.
The mother was speechless; then grateful.
But the man kept walking.
Stopping farther up that mountain road,
He stood a long time on a different ledge,
Not wondering at the inexhaustible
Bierstadt or Cole whose river meandered
Below, and not at the Turner miles away
Building the bruised fist of a thunderstorm,
But at the immediate upraised yet
Impersonal arms of a six-year-old
Whose need could frame the entire list of it.
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