Man in Stream

Rosanna Warren

 
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.
 
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.

Further Reading

Poems about Rivers
A Musical Instrument
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A Thought of the Nile
by Leigh Hunt
Afton Water
by Robert Burns
Ephemeral Stream
by Elizabeth Willis
From a Bridge Car
by Elias Lieberman
In Passing
by Stanley Plumly
Oarlock, Oar (Y, W, V, U, F)
by Katrina Vandenberg
Part of Eve's Discussion
by Marie Howe
Rückenfigur
by Susan Howe
Somewhere between here and Belen
by Jay Wright
South
by Jack Gilbert
Summer Night, Riverside
by Sara Teasdale
The Other Side of the River
by Xi Chuan
The Outlet (162)
by Emily Dickinson
Vague Cadence
by Geoffrey G. O'Brien
Written on the Banks of the Arun
by Charlotte Smith
Poems about Trees
A Poison Tree
by William Blake
Abandonment Under the Walnut Tree
by D. A. Powell
An Apple Gathering
by Christina Rossetti
Arbolé, Arbolé . . .
by Federico García Lorca
Before the Snake
by Nathaniel Tarn
Birch
by Cynthia Zarin
Birches
by Robert Frost
Christmas Trees
by Robert Frost
Elders
by Louise Bogan
Gather
by Rose McLarney
Get Used To It
by Margaret Young
Goddess of Maple at Evening
by Chard deNiord
Hard Night
by Christian Wiman
How From Politeness to the Trees
by Cecily Parks
How to Uproot a Tree
by Jennifer K. Sweeney
If You Go into the Woods You Will Find It Has a Technology
by Heather Christle
In California During the Gulf War
by Denise Levertov
Leaves
by Lloyd Schwartz
Letter from Town: The Almond Tree
by D. H. Lawrence
Loveliest of Trees
by A. E. Housman
Mountain Pines
by Robinson Jeffers
My Friend Tree
by Lorine Niedecker
My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree
by Vachel Lindsay
Not Dead
by Robert Graves
Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost
Orpheus
by William Shakespeare
Pear Tree
by H. D.
Russian Birch
by Nathaniel Bellows
Solstice
by Ellen Dudley
Song of the Trees
by Mary Colborne-Veel
The Apple Trees at Olema
by Robert Hass
The Branches
by Jean Valentine
The Bride Tree Can't Be Read
by Brenda Hillman
The Heart of the Tree
by Henry Cuyler Bunner
The Lemon Trees
by Eugenio Montale
The Life of Trees
by Dorianne Laux
The Mahogany Tree
by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Planting of the Apple-Tree
by William Cullen Bryant
The Poplar
by Richard Aldington
The Sound of the Trees
by Robert Frost
The Testing-Tree
by Stanley Kunitz
The Weight
by Linda Gregg
The Wishing Tree
by Kathleen Jamie
This Lime Tree Bower My Prison
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Trees
by Joyce Kilmer
Trees in the Garden
by D. H. Lawrence
Trees Need Not Walk the Earth
by David Rosenthal
Vantage
by Alan Shapiro
Vertical
by Linda Pastan
What Happened at the Service?
by Prageeta Sharma
When Autumn Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
White Trees
by Nathalie Handal
Willow
by Jane Shore
Winter Trees
by William Carlos Williams