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A Winter Daybreak Above Vence Analysis

Author: poem of James Wright Type: poem Views: 5

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The night's drifts

Pile up below me and behind my back,

Slide down the hill, rise again, and build

Eerie little dunes on the roof of the house.

In the valley below me,

Miles between me and the town of St.-Jeannet,

The road lamps glow.

They are so cold, they might as well be dark.

Trucks and cars

Cough and drone down there between the golden

Coffins of greenhouses, the startled squawk

Of a rooster claws heavily across

A grove, and drowns.

The gumming snarl of some grouchy dog sounds,

And a man bitterly shifts his broken gears.

True night still hangs on,

Mist cluttered with a racket of its own.

Now on the mountainside,

A little way downhill among turning rucks,

A square takes form in the side of a dim wall.

I hear a bucket rattle or something, tinny,

No other stirring behind the dim face

Of the goatherd's house.  I imagine

His goats are still sleeping, dreaming

Of the fresh roses

Beyond the walls of the greenhouse below them.

And of lettuce leaves opening in Tunisia.

I turn, and somehow

Impossibly hovering in the air over everything,

The Mediterranean, nearer to the moon

Than this mountain is, Shines.  A voice clearly

Tells me to snap out of it.  Galway

Mutters out of the house and up the stone stairs

To start the motor.  The moon and the stars

Suddenly flicker out, and the whole mountain

Appears, pale as a shell.

Look, the sea has not fallen and broken

Our heads.  How can I feel so warm

Here in the dead center of January?  I can

Scarcely believe it, and yet I have to, this is

The only life I have.  I get up from the stone.

My body mumbles something unseemly

And follows me.  Now we are all sitting here strangely

On top of sunlight.


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