William De Witt Snodgrass

(January 5, 1926 – January 13, 2009 / Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)

Song


Observe the cautious toadstools
still on the lawn today
though they grow over-evening;
sun shrinks them away.
Pale and proper and rootless,
they righteously extort
their living from the living.
I have been their sort.

See by our blocked foundation
the cold, archaic clay,
stiff and clinging and sterile
as children mold at play
or as the Lord God fashioned
before He breathed it breath.
The earth we dig and carry
for flowers, is strong in death.

Woman, we are the rich
soil, friable and humble,
where all our murders rot,
where our old deaths crumble
and fortify my reach
far from you, wide and free,
though I have set my root
in you and am your tree.

Submitted: Tuesday, January 03, 2012

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