William Stafford

(January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993 / Kansas)

Atavism Poem by William Stafford


1
Sometimes in the open you look up
where birds go by, or just nothing,
and wait. A dim feeling comes
you were like this once, there was air,
and quiet; it was by a lake, or
maybe a river you were alert
as an otter and were suddenly born
like the evening star into wide
still worlds like this one you have found
again, for a moment, in the open.


2
Something is being told in the woods: aisles of
shadow lead away; a branch waves;
a pencil of sunlight slowly travels its
path. A withheld presence almost
speaks, but then retreats, rustles
a patch of brush. You can feel
the centuries ripple generations
of wandering, discovering, being lost
and found, eating, dying, being born.
A walk through the forest strokes your fur,
the fur you no longer have. And your gaze
down a forest aisle is a strange, long
plunge, dark eyes looking for home.
For delicious minutes you can feel your whiskers
wider than your mind, away out over everything.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Read poems about / on: river, sometimes, star, lost, home, dark, travel

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Comments about this poem (Atavism by William Stafford )

  • Bronze Star - 2,227 Points john tiong chunghoo (3/25/2006 12:16:00 AM)

    this is real deep;

    A walk through the forest strokes your fur,
    the fur you no longer have

    my share:

    forest
    i join in the million year music
    with an achoo (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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