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Scintillant, by Arthur Sze



Trudging uphill, I turn onto a deer path
then follow the switchbacks you marked
with orange streamers until I arrive

at a cairn and overlook where I view
the gold run of cottonwoods through the city;
western tanagers migrate through the city.

As I bask in the heat of the afternoon,
I cannot say I had the courage
to march on a bridge for the right

to vote and be beaten; at an antiwar rally,
I retreated when police, mounted on horses,
crossed the street with batons swinging.

As I stride down the switchbacks, I can’t
put into words the radiance of this day;
I stop at a robin’s nest lined with mud

fallen in the grass and scintillate
when at night we step into the yard
and stare up through apple branches at stars.


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Poet, translator, and editor Arthur Sze is the author of ten books of poetry: Sight Lines; Compass Rose; The Ginkgo Light; Quipu; The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998; Archipelago; River River; Dazzled; Two Ravens; The Willow Wind, and The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems, which includes "Blackcap," ((first published in Big Other). He is also a celebrated translator from the Chinese, and released The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was the first poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives.

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