The Mountain by ELIZABETH BISHOP

At evening, something behind me.

I start for a second, I blench,

or staggeringly halt and burn.

I do not know my age.

 

In the morning it is different.

An open book confronts me,

too close to read in comfort.

Tell me how old I am.

 

And then the valleys stuff

inpenetrable mists

like cotton in my ears.

I do not know my age.

 

I do not mean to complain.

They say it is my fault.

Nobody tells me anything.

Tell me how old I am.

 

The deepest demarcation

can slowly spread and sink

like any blurred tattoo.

I do not know my age.

 

Shadows fall down; lights climb.

Clambering lights, oh children!

you never stay long enough.

Tell me how old I am.

 

Stone wings have sifted here

with feathers hardening feathers.

The claws are lost somewhere.

I do not know my age.

 

I am growing deaf. Bird-calls

dribble and the waterfalls

go unwiped. What is my age?

Tell me how old I am.

 

Let the moon go hang,

the stars go fly their kites.

I want to know my age.

Tell me how old I am.

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