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Fountains of Aix

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Beards of   water
                      some of them have.
         Others are blowing whistles of   water.
         Faces astonished that constant   water
                  jumps from their mouths.
                   Jaws of lions are snarling   water
through green teeth over chins of moss.
                              Dolphins toss jets of   water
                                    from open snouts
                              to an upper theater of   water.
                     Children are riding swans and   water   
       coils from the S-shaped necks and spills
                        in flat foils from pincered bills.
                            A solemn curly-headed bull
                            puts out a swollen tongue of   water.   
                                 Cupids naked are making   water   
                               into a font that never is full.
                   A goddess is driving a chariot through   water.
                         Her reins and whips are tight white   water.
                         Bronze hoofs of horses wrangle with   water.
                              Marble faces half hidden in leaves.
                         Faces whose hair is leaves and grapes
                         of stone are peering from living leaves.
                                       Faces with mossy lips unlocked
                                                               always uttering   water,
                                                                                          water
                                                wearing their features blank   
                                             their ears deaf, their eyes mad
                                          or patient or blind or astonished at   water
                                           always uttered out of their mouths.

May Swenson, “Fountains of Aix” from Nature: Poems Old and New. Copyright © 1994 by May Swenson. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Nature: Poems Old and New (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)
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Fountains of Aix

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