Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRELUDE TO THE NANTAHALAS, by BARBARA BOWEN



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PRELUDE TO THE NANTAHALAS, by            
First Line: Since early morning the warm car
Last Line: And we mounted upward.


Since early morning the warm car
Had climbed the mountain highway;
In the twilight of morning we had left the lowlands
And the twilight continued all day;
The sky was gray as a dove's throat with snow.

Saffron and chartreuse were the mountains --
Garnet and gold and rose.
Like the heart of an ember the scarlet,
Like the heart of a topaz the gold.

Under the heavy-laden apple trees
The ground lay red with piled fruit
And white in all the interstices with snow.

When we thought we could stand no more of beauty
We came on deer in captivity
Walking as lightly as leaf-fall.
Snow speckled their sides
And tapped the dry leaves at our feet.

The deer belonged to the mountains, -- not we.
We were aliens to the silence;
Our voices shattered it and made discords.
Only the sound of snow falling from holly-leaf to holly-leaf
And the aged rumble of hidden water belonged to the silence.

The warm car received us again
And we mounted upward.





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