Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CLIFF-TEMPLE: 1, by HILDA DOOLITTLE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE CLIFF-TEMPLE: 1, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Great, bright portal
Last Line: Beneath its great feet.
Alternate Author Name(s): H. D.; Aldington, Richard, Mrs.
Subject(s): Bible

GREAT, bright portal,
shelf of rock,
rocks fitted in long ledges,
rocks fitted to dark, to silver granite,
to lighter rock --
clean cut, white against white.
High -- high -- and no hill-goat
tramples -- no mountain-sheep
has set foot on your fine grass;
you lift, you are the-world-edge,
pillar for the sky-arch.
The world heaved --
we are next to the sky:
over us, sea-hawks shout,
gulls sweep past --
the terrible breakers are silent
from this place.
Below us, on the rock-edge,
where earth is caught in the fissures
of the jagged cliff,
a small tree stiffens in the gale,
it bends -- but its white flowers
are fragrant at this height.
And under and under,
the wind booms:
it whistles, it thunders,
it growls -- it presses the grass
beneath its great feet.

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