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By Nature

As if hopefulness
Were a kind of natural
Right instead of a
Sort of malady
Most incident to the mind,
We have looked upward
And then down again,
Looked under, and behind, for
Some acknowledgment
Of what it is we
Act as if we’d been promised.
The jack o’ lantern
Grin of sunrise, noon’s
Reasonable demeanor,
Night’s apparently
Loving hand drawing
Her dark curtain between us
And what will come next—
These are what we get,
Having by nature both to
Take it and leave it.
The cold sky, having
Come in time to imitate
Our moods, will giggle
Or frown, as it will,
But without the convictions
We believe we have;
The relenting snow
Will yield to the gray green dark
Surface of the land;
The unforgiving
Land will leave us nothing much
To ground our hopes in;
And the water, wide
With possibility and
With desperation
At once, can take back
What was never more than our
Borrowed buoyancy.

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