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The English in Virginia, April 1607

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They landed and could
    see nothing but
    meadows and tall
    trees—
cypress, nearly three
    fathoms about at the
    roots,
rising straight for
    sixty or eighty feet
    without a branch.
In the woods were
    cedars, oaks, and
    walnut trees;
some beech, some elm,
    black walnut, ash,
    and sassafras; mul-
    berry trees in
    groves;
honey-suckle and
    other vines hanging   
    in clusters on
    many trees.
They stepped on
    violets and other
    sweet flowers,
many kinds in many
    colors; straw-
    berries and rasp-
    berries were on
    the ground.
Blackbirds with red
    shoulders were
    flying about
and many small birds,
    some red, some blue;
the woods were full of deer;
and running
    everywhere
    fresh water—
    brooks, rundles,
    springs and creeks.
In the twilight,
    through the thickets
    and tall grass,
creeping upon all
    fours—the
    savages, their
    bows in their
    mouths.

Notes:
*Based upon the Works of Captain John Smith, edited by Edward Arber.
From The Poems of Charles Reznikoff by Charles Reznikoff, edited by Seamus Cooney. Reprinted by permission of Black Sparrow Books, an imprint of David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc. Copyright 2005 by Charles Reznikoff.
Source: Poems 1918-1975: The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff (Black Sparrow Press, 1977)
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The English in Virginia, April 1607

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