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Home in Umbria

It cost us all we had to give:
This house; this land; this dream.

Mountains from every window.
Slopes of grass so coarse a goat
Would choke on it; tumbled
Vines and un-pruned olive trees;
Jewel glints of peach or apple
In hidden valleys; oaks
Wearing their galls, their mistletoe
Like a third eye or a third teat.

Each time a new discovery:
The mysterious filled-in well;
The trickling water-chamber
Cut in the hillside;
The dovecot never meant for doves.

Two owls lie dead in empty rooms
With no way in (it seems) and no way out.
Angular black moths on the walls.

Our adventurous dog returns dripping
From some uncharted water source.

We picnic, unable yet to live there.
Access is by invitation only
And our other life is not invited.

This is the ship on our horizon;
The Noah’s Ark for everything we value.
It will save us, dogs and all,
From bitterness at wasted lives
Because there is meaning
In loving so a place.

by Damaris West

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