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The Hills of Little Cornwall

Mark Van Doren
The hills of little Cornwall
Themselves are dreams.
The mind lies down among them,
Even by day, and snores,
Snug in the perilous knowledge
That nothing more inward pleasing,
More like itself,
Sleeps anywhere beyond them
Even by night
In the great land it cares two pins about,
Possibly; not more.

The mind, eager for caresses,
Lies down at its own risk in Cornwall;
Whose hills,
Whose cunning streams,
Whose mazes where a thought,
Doubling upon itself,
Considers the way, lazily, well lost,
Indulge it to the nick of death--
Not quite, for where it curls it still can feel,
Like feathers,
Like affectionate mouse whiskers,
The flattery, the trap.

From The Autobiography of Mark Van Doren by Mark Van Doren. Copyright © 1939, 1958, 1986 by Mark Van Doren. Reprinted by permission of Charles Van Doren. All rights reserved.

From The Autobiography of Mark Van Doren by Mark Van Doren. Copyright © 1939, 1958, 1986 by Mark Van Doren. Reprinted by permission of Charles Van Doren. All rights reserved.

Mark Van Doren