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By Virginia Hamilton Adair

Always the caravan of sound made us halt   

to admire the swinging and the swift go-by   

of beasts with enormous hooves and heads   

beating the earth or reared against the sky.


Do not reread, I mean glance ahead to see

what has become of the colossal forms:

everything happened at the instant of passing:

the hoof-beat, the whinny, the bells on the harness,   

the creak of the wheels, the monkey’s fandango   

in double time over the elephant’s back.


When the marching was over and we were free to go on   

there was never before us a dungfall or a track

on the road-sands of any kind:

only the motion of footprints being made

crossing and recrossing in the trampled mind.


Virginia Hamilton Adair, “Musical Moment” from Ants on the Melon. Copyright © 1996 by Virginia Hamilton Adair. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Ants on the Melon: A Collection of Poems (Random House Inc., 1996)

Poet Bio

Virginia Hamilton Adair
Although she had written all of her life, Virginia Hamilton Adair didn’t publish her first book until she was 83, by which time glaucoma had left her blind. Ants on the Melon appeared in 1996 to wide acclaim for its playful rhymes, beguiling sense of nostalgia, and the poet’s frank, often humorous take on her blindness. She published two other books before her death: Beliefs and Blasphemies and Living on Fire.

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