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A beautiful place is the little town of Claremont.
The quiet streets are lines by ancient trees.
Down the long avenues of old houses,
pepper trees, sycamores, cedars, oaks and elms,
eucalyptus, palms and jacarandas
translate sunlight into restful shadows.
Flowers are everywhere, and citrus trees.
Lemons and oranges ornament the gardens.
Students walk by, with their books, to the colleges.
Townspeople walk together to the village.
From parks and schoolyards, childrenís voices call.
Sunday mornings, churches ring their bells.
On a clear day, you can see the mountains,
where children play, in winter, in the snow,
and long trails lead to streams and waterfalls.
Deer and mountain lions roam the mountains.
Rattlesnakes doze for hours in the sun.
Some days the ponds are visited by bears
who stumble home with their bellies full of trout.
Unable to sleep, I leave my house tonight
and sit at the wooden table under the trees.
Now the winds and birds have settled; the night is
The owl in the cedar tree begins to bell.
Rose and jasmine burn their sticks of incense.
Moonlight falls on Claremont through the clouds.
I remember Po Chuiís poem about the cranes.
In the early dusk, down an alley of green moss,
the garden-boy is leading the cranes home.
How strange and powerful, the love of home.
Stranger still to be alive at all,
to be anywhere, in all its endless detail,
and the millions of tiny locks that will be broken
before you can be released from where you are
to return again to the place,
so many years ago, you started from,
the nothing that is everywhere but here.