Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Man in Stream

You stand in the brook, mud smearing
your forearms, a bloodied mosquito on your brow,
your yellow T-shirt dampened to your chest
as the current flees between your legs,
amber, verdigris, unraveling
today’s story, last night's travail . . .

You stare at the father beaver, eye to eye,
but he outstares you—you who trespass in his world,
who have, however unwilling, yanked out his fort,
stick by tooth-gnarled, mud-clabbered stick,
though you whistle vespers to the wood thrush
and trace flame-flicker in the grain of yellow birch.

Death outpaces us. Upended roots
of fallen trees still cling to moss-furred granite.
Lichen smolders on wood-rot, fungus trails in wisps.
I wanted a day with cracks, to let the godlight in.
The forest is always a nocturne, but it gleams,
the birch tree tosses its change from palm to palm,

and we who unmake are ourselves unmade
if we know, if only we know
how to give ourselves in this untendered light.

Credit


From Ghost in a Red Hat, published by W.W. Norton. Copyright © 2011 by Rosanna Warren. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Author


Rosanna Warren

Born in 1953, Rosanna Warren is the author of several poetry collections and served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2011-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/man-stream