Rivers Grow Small
Rivers grow small. Cities grow small. And splendid gardens
show what we did not see there before: crippled leaves and dust.
When for the first time I swam across the lake
it seemed immense, had I gone there these days
it would have been a shaving bowl
between post-glacial rocks and junipers.
The forest near the village of Halina once was for me primeval,
smelling of the last but recently killed bear,
though a ploughed field was visible through the pines.
What was individual becomes a variety of a general pattern.
Consciousness even in my sleep changes primary colors.
The features of my face melt like a wax doll in the fire.
And who can consent to see in the mirror the mere face of man?
From New and Collected Poems (1931-2001) Harper Collins Publishers 2003.