April in the Huasteca

Grace Hazard Conkling

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Dark on the gold west,
Mexico hung inscrutable like a curtain of heavy velvet
Before a lighted shrine.
Black on the west
All Mexico stood up from the Gulf,
Colossal, perpendicular, superb;
Mexico secretly veined with metals,
Mexico preoccupied with volcanoes, palm forests,
Deserts, cities, jungles,
Plantations of coffee and maguey,
Unknown valleys, hills of iron,
I heard the river flash down the canyon between the rosewoods,
And the scream of parrots going to roost above the water.
Through the tracery of bamboo plumes against the afterglow,
I saw mystery flicker along the sky-line
And vanish over Yucatan.
Exotic the thought of northern trees,
Oaks, maples, beeches,
Elms still unfledged in the early April.
For April here was wild white lilac,
Jargon of mocking-birds,
Air that glittered with the voice of a river,
Heaped shell-pink of rosewood blooms,
Bamboo feathers etched on the sunset,
And below the sunset, hanging hills like a weighted curtain of velvet
Before the shrine of an indifferent god.

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