At this particular place, what you’re seeing, essentially, is the process that had widened that valley over the last [glacial period]. … What you’re seeing is a landscape still recovering from glaciations. It’s a 15,000-year hangover." 
***Geologist on the Washington mudslides

O Mother Earth,

you still remember 
how the ice cut you

 and never forgot
the rape of your trees

while ignoring
 the houses of the
recent arrivals.

Did you feel the
small tremor 
the False Pass fault
coming through 
your saturated limbs
triggered you to
abandon your
show of strength 
caused you to be
 fully separated 
from your weaknesses.

The First Night

         The worst thing about death must be
          the first night.
--Juan Ramón Jiménez

Before I opened you, Jiménez,
it never occurred to me that day and night
would continue to circle each other in the ring of death,

but now you have me wondering
if there will also be a sun and a moon
and will the dead gather to watch them rise and set

then repair, each soul alone,
to some ghastly equivalent of a bed.
Or will the first night be the only night,

a darkness for which we have no other name?
How feeble our vocabulary in the face of death,
How impossible to write it down.

This is where language will stop,
the horse we have ridden all our lives
rearing up at the edge of a dizzying cliff.

The word that was in the beginning
and the word that was made flesh—
those and all the other words will cease.

Even now, reading you on this trellised porch,
how can I describe a sun that will shine after death?
But it is enough to frighten me

into paying more attention to the world’s day-moon,
to sunlight bright on water
or fragmented in a grove of trees,

and to look more closely here at these small leaves,
these sentinel thorns,
whose employment it is to guard the rose.
 Billy Collins