The poem of the mantis
is in the mantis.
The arch of the sea wave extends
and disintegrates; its foam
is received without comment on a smooth rise of sand.

The poem of the mantis
has green eyes and clacking jaws.
Small beetles are moved to surrender
to its patient gangling arms.

The poem of the man
is in the search,
is in the knowing
that leaves and stems are designed
and shaped to imitate the mantis.

Let those who follow construct the plan
of the poem’s construction.
Let them write it in flowing script
on its own tombstone.

The poem of the mantis
is in silent waiting.
The poet gathers little beetles
and crushes them between clockwork jaws.

The poem of the man
is to see for the first time
the gathering of waves
and the smashing of the sea.

April 8, 1975

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