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Tag Archives ‘Wild Geese’

THE TOP OF THE RISE

For John Chapman

 

I can see for miles across the wolds, low hills

receding. The top of the rise is a field

of stubble that was rape. I imagine

last year’s sweet scented, false meadow of sharp

yellow and green. On the field’s far side

a flock of wild geese is grazing the stalks.

The cloudless, cerulean sky, empty

of con trails, seems closer, domed, as if curved

like our planet. In an ancient copse,

below the rise,

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MONKS’ MOUND, CAHOKIA, ILLINOIS

The river valleys – Missouri, Ohio,
Illinois, Mississippi – are thronged
with prehistoric earthen mounds. Monks’ Mound
was lived on briefly by Trappists, hence
its English soubriquet. The city
of Cahokia – the name means ‘Wild Geese’ –
was six miles square, had more than eighty mounds.
At its thirteenth century zenith,
it was as populous as any city
in the then contemporary Europe.

The Trinculos and Stephanos came:
mockers and con men – drunken, violent,
slaughtering bison, fencing the prairie –
satraps of Washington and the railways,

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