Thursday, February 24, 2011

Loren Eiseley: "The Shore Haunters"

The Shore Haunters

Here in this dry, rocky, fired-out place
one can still see the subsiding shorelines of a giant lake;
one can still see
where the blue mountain glaciers fed it,
where mammoth grazed,
and now all
is stone and gravel, a Martian landscape
with a few bits of flaked obsidian
high on the bitter shores.

The world changes, that is the lesson, but no one
lives long enough to remember, either man
or beast, and the archeologist
is an anomaly here. The bones of the elephant,
the sandals in the cave by the high lake shore.
speak to no one in particular.

Later, by this great dam
in the Poconos
I see the motorboats and think
we will always be here, that the pinewoods should shrink
is unthinkable, but so was this unthinkable
to the shore haunters--beasts or men--nevertheless
it happened, the vanishing ice and the fire
like the heart's final
contracting country, blackened cinders, dry beaches,
the unimaginable place.

Loren Eiseley
from Another Kind of Autumn

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