North by coast road we drove
through stands of redwood tagged
for the lumberman’s axe,
past alpine villages and herds
of humped cattle in a kind of gorse,

to stop by the postcard bridge
arched over silted wetlands,
the sand creating nests
beasts might crawl to fill.

So little left unmarred
where we rode in the failing light.
We should have fled to the water,
initials carved on our backs
like scrimshaw on the jawbones of whales.

E(dwin) G(ladding) Burrows 1917 –