On First Sighting Walden Pond

Special trips, pilgrimages almost,
seemed to be required.
Or maybe a reservation.

And the wonder of the destination
vanished like an opened Christmas present
the moment you arrived.

The sense of belonging, of acceptance,
never actually sank in. And so you did not belong there,

in the square by the church filled with tourists
looking around at nothing in particular and

we all have been turned away at the very doors of our destination,
frustrated for lack of a quarter in pocket
or a quarter of an hour by the church-tower clock
tick, tick, tick…
jingle, jingle, and the time and the money
keep slipping from the fingers.

But I have heard the World clap hands for joy
and cry WELCOME! in ringing tones
that shatter my eardrums
and bring me to my knees
in places where I did not expect to come,
which I spent nothing to acheive
or found while intending to go somewhere else,
hurrying desperately to be on my way.

A beach without a name
with not a person visible anywhere,
on a cold and rainy Tuesday afternoon
in November
with only the gulls
and one whale’s fluke
for company.

A pool of still, calm water so clear
I can name the colors of the rocks on the bottom
and a waterfall so impossibly distant
it seemed to fall out of a green heaven
as far from any tourist destination that I know.

Today, I woke in wonder recalling
another, more ordinary water,
rimed with ice and dimly glimpsed
through dappled branches
and leaf-strewn ground
pied with snow,
taking a too-fast shortcut in a car on the way to breakfast
with a friend and student,
and a lover.

Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it,
cried Isaac’s son, fleeing his brother’s wrath,
startled from dream by the dawn.

7 comments

  1. Damn.

    Now, here’s a great argument for the importance of understanding classical forms — the way that your scholarship of those forms informs this piece is wondrous, indeed.

    Excellent work.

  2. Damn.

    Now, here’s a great argument for the importance of understanding classical forms — the way that your scholarship of those forms informs this piece is wondrous, indeed.

    Excellent work.

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