Excerpted from Richard Hugo’s Stafford Country, Stanza 3

             –When land is flat, words are far apart.
Each word is seen, coming from far off,
A calm storm, almost familiar across
the plain. The word floats by, alive.—April, 1963

Tarnish on the Tongue

I see it coming, a bit of dust-devil
beginning, spinning above the corn lifting
husk and cob leftover ideas because
when land is flat words are far apart

you see it all closer, closer moving in
colors now the bran and old gold
tarnish on the tongue but sweet
each word is seen, coming from far off

no fear to see the dervishes dance
you welcome how they link arms
hold out your own and beg to join

this calm storm almost familiar

this is how words come now
a gathering of letters jumbled
sorted out by the very wind across
the plain. The words float by, alive.

(a modified Glosa compacted from 10-line stanzas)

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