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And the black lines the trees made at sundown yesterday
in one direction now point the other, saying
see what you missed in your life that was there all the time.
I thought of people I knew in my young swagger,
whose names I can’t remember, who cared for me
and I didn’t care back (how the mind remembers these things
suddenly, in later years, when one can no longer run as fast
away from self-knowledge to some sensual excess).
And then there are colors between the colors
and different shades of them and that Japanese elm
is wild next to the red-leafed maple—who was it
that wrote her name in the book of poems she gave me
on whatever occasion? These things sting like the tape
the nurse yanks off the healed cut taking hair with it.
The fields are greening themselves without our help
and the willow is blossoming in its gold/green way.
This all happens whether we care or not and is not sad
if we don’t. Something like snow hanging on in May
is sorrowful, and a man with a few years left
saying to the crocus, I lived, I fell in love here.
Copyright 2020 Doug Anderson