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Claim of Two Countries

Text of Poem

My native land finds its map
rolled up in a seed where signs
of the sea still linger,
jungles of tiger buds stalk
through the clover-tame meadows.
I too swam into light and
each foot felt rootlike for earth,
I fled the hunter wounded
by arrows of shine and wet
under blue space and rose again
and again blind to the mystery
of my journey.
And become a citizen of the country
known for hard knocks where soft words
drown in the echoes of the clank
of machines. I haul manure to the tune
of meadowlarks, drive my plow through
wildflowers, blast the breath of lilacs
with a tractor’s exhaust, crush my path
through squatter’s rights to a donkey’s harvest.
I stretch barbed wire to guard the land
where wild plum blossoms gather me
in clouds of delight but still I walk
backward through the fields I own
at the boundary of two countries.

First Line
My native land finds its map
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
New Frontiers 10 (1964-1965) 53.
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