If a Wilderness
Then spring came: branches-in-a-wind. . . I bought a harness, I bought a bridle. I wagered on God in a kind stranger— kind at first; strange, then less so— and I was right. The difference between God and luck is that luck, when it leaves, does not go far: the idea is to believe you could almost touch it. . . . Now he's singing, cadence of a rough sea—A way of crossing a dark so unspecific, it seems everywhere: isn't that what singing, once, was for? I lay the harness across my lap, the bridle beside me for the sweat—the color and smell of it—that I couldn't, by now, lift the leather free of, even if I wanted to. I don't want to.
Reprinted from Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, 1986-2006 © 2007 by Carl Phillips, by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Learn more about FSG poets at fsgpoetry.com.
Carl Phillips is the author of several books including Pale Colors in a Tall Field (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) .He is Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/if-wilderness