The way the water glides down open paths
of granite into deeps of afternoon,
the way it gutters a throaty roar,

clearing its mouth of a thousand stones.
That is the way we all might go,
cutting loose from the tarns

of our magnificent placidity
and speaking ourselves over the smoothness
of the lip where glaciers have prepared the ground.

The polished slabs spill
down and down past stray and strong
Sierra trees—lodgepole, whitebark, foxtail pine—

and the stream spreads thin about their roots
in robes of white, in airy sheets
that put this bed of rock to rest.