Exit, pursued by a Sierra meadow

Robert Haas

That slow, rhythmic flickering of the wings,
As if from the ache of pleasure—
A California tortoiseshell
Fastened to the white umbel of a milkweed stalk.
Smell of water in the dry air,
The almost nutmeg smell of dust.
White fir, Jeffrey pine,
I have no way of knowing whether you prefer
Summer or winter,
Though I think you are more beautiful in winter.
Scarlet gilia, corn lily,
I don't know which you prefer, either.
So long, horse mint,
Your piebald mix of lavender and soft grey-green under the cottonwoods
On a shelf of lichened granite near a creek
May be the most startling thing in these mountains,
Besides the mountains.
It's good that we stopped just a minute
To look at you and then walked down the trail
Because we had things to do
And because beauty is a little unendurable,
I mean, getting used to it is unendurable,
Because if we can’t eat a thing or do something with it,
Human beings get bored by almost everything eventually,
Which is why winter is such an admirable invention.
There’s another month of summer here.
August will squeeze the sweetness out of you
And drift it as pollen.