Bi-Focal

Sometimes up out of this land   
a legend begins to move.
Is it a coming near
of something under love?

Love is of the earth only,   
the surface, a map of roads   
leading wherever go miles   
or little bushes nod.

Not so the legend under,   
fixed, inexorable,
deep as the darkest mine   
the thick rocks won't tell.

As fire burns the leaf
and out of the green appears   
the vein in the center line
and the legend veins under there,

So, the world happens twice—
once what we see it as;
second it legends itself
deep, the way it is.

William Stafford, “Bi-Focal” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1954 by William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998)
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