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River of our substance


With the rest. River of the substqnce

of the earth’s curve, river of the substance

Of the sunrise, river of silt, of erosion, flowing

To no imaginable sea. But the mind rises

Into Happiness, rising

Into what is there. I know of no other

Nor have I ever witnessed it… Islands

To the north

In polar mist

In the rather shallow sea

Nothing more

But the sense

Of where we are

Who are most northerly. The marvel of wave

Even here is its noise seething

In the world; I thought that even if there were nothing

The possibility of being would exist;

I thought I had encountered

Permanence; thought leaped on us in that sea

For in that sea we breathe the open


Of place, and speak

If we would rescue

Love to the ice-lit

Upper World a substnatial language

Of clarity, and respect.
George Oppen