Hot Springs

after Robert Francis’s “Silent Poem”


rain storm   rock pore   flow path   earth crust
thrust fault   drip slope   trough dam   blue ooze

tile floor   stained glass   sitz bath   rust stain
sun porch   deck chair   sky light   gas lamp

foot bridge   leaf twitch   dirt trail   red oak
white tail   hoof prints   moss stump   wood thrush

chert flake   clay shard   pit mine   whet stone
knife blade   green gorge  creek mud   blue tent

fire ring   wood smoke   sign post   steep road
store front   plate glass   stone arch   tile roof

street light   pump house   brick walk   steam grate
hot wisp   guard rail   foot soak   spa town


Copyright © 2016 by Davis McCombs. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 7, 2016, this poem was commissioned by the Academy of American Poets and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Imagine Your Parks grant.

About this Poem

“The form of ‘Hot Springs’ was inspired by Robert Francis’s wonderful ‘Silent Poem,’ a poem I’ve loved and taught for years. When I sat down to write about Hot Springs National Park, I kept thinking about the two stressed syllables of the name ‘Hot Springs’ and it eventually led me to wonder if I could write a poem composed entirely of spondees and still manage to convey a sense, albeit fractured, of one of my favorite places in Arkansas.”
—Davis McCombs