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Villanelle on the Oregon Coast

For Margaret Prentice

 

Many a time I've dreamed of such a place,

Where darkened headlands tumbled to the shore

And a white ocean blew against my face;

 

An inland valley gave a breathing space

Against the water's overwhelming roar.

Many a time I've dreamed of such a place,

 

But the great wind of dream-time would erase

All human detail, leaving just a core

That the white ocean blew against my face;

 

Now, though, our footprints measure out our pace

Upon this homeland that I never saw

(Many a time I've dreamed of such a place);

 

The cypress-pins and huckleberry-lace

Had been invisible to me before

When the white ocean blew against my face:

 

Sister and stranger, you gave me the grace

To read the print upon the windblind shore.

Many a time I'll dream of such a place,

Where that white ocean blows against my face.

 

                                           Frederick Turner

 

From Hadean Eclogues, Story Line Press,

1999.  Reprinted by permission of the author.


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