The forest is its own thanksgiving
Walking a mile or so from the road
Past the lake & ancient post office
I skim the long bodies of the beech trees
The elegant ascension of their slender trunks
A kind of gorgeous illusory play
Of white bars against the dark ochre matting
Of the earth below
Peace is where you find it
As here the last secret of the dawn air mixes
With a nostalgia so perfumed by misery
Only the rhythm of the walk itself
Carries me beyond the past
To say I miss you is to say almost nothing
To say the forest is the sanctuary of ghosts
Is only the first step of my own giving way—
Not the giving up—just the old giving thanks
From The Red Leaves of Night (Harper Collins, 1999) by David St.
John. Copyright © 1999 by David St. John. Used with permission
of the poet.
David St. John
David St. John is the author of over ten collections of poetry, including Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems (Perennial, 1994), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 2021-11-18
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/beeches