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About this Poem 

"One of my favorite ballads from the early 1950s is the song—recorded famously by both Patti Page and Jo Stafford—'You Belong to Me.' I wanted my poem to be full of echoes of the lyrics of that song and of several recent poems by poets I love. It is a poem of fragments, leavings, endings, overlapping tones and details, a poem of decasyllabic lines snapped in half but still perceptible, nearly, as a blank verse sonnet. 'See the pyramids along the Nile...'"
David Baker

Belong To

David Baker, 1954

See the pair of us
                              Raining and morning

the first soft ashes

                              along the high road

running the far ridge
                              of pines ripped wild to

timbers by storming
                              to shreds see the white

shreds like coals like a
                              sudden sorrow see

the partial moon see
                              the cut sky see us

serene with singing
                              are we merry are

we rueful neither
                              is there sufficient

wording for what falls
                              all the muffled horns

pleading but too late
                              along the last route

of what remains can
                              you see us what can

you see there—lost leaves
                              waiting to come back

as leaves . . .

Copyright © 2013 by David Baker. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 2, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by David Baker. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 2, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

David Baker

David Baker

David Baker was born in Bangor, Maine, on December 27, 1954. He

by this poet

poem
Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy,
   out of work, alcoholic, and estranged two towns down river. 
America, it's hard to get your attention politely.
   America, the beautiful night is about to blow up

and the cop who brought the man down with a shot to the chops 
   is shaking hands,
poem
1.

Such pleasure one needs to make for oneself. 
She has snipped the paltry forsythia 
to force the bloom, has cut each stem on 
the slant and sprinkled brown sugar in a vase, 
so the wintered reeds will take their water. 
It hurts her to do this but she does it. 
When are we most ourselves, and when the
poem
Now we knelt beside 
the ruined waters 
as our first blood, 
our bulb-before-bloom, 
unfurled too early 

in slender petals. 
Now we were empty. 
Now we walked for months 
on softer shoes and 
spoke, not quite with grief. 

This morning four deer 
come up to the yard 
to stand, to be stunned, 
at the woods' edge