Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Naomi Shihab Nye: "Trying to Name What Doesn't Change"

Roselva says the only thing that doesn’t change
is train tracks. She’s sure of it.
The train changes, or the weeds that grow up spidery   
by the side, but not the tracks.
I’ve watched one for three years, she says,
and it doesn’t curve, doesn’t break, doesn’t grow.

Peter isn’t sure. He saw an abandoned track
near Sabinas, Mexico, and says a track without a train   
is a changed track. The metal wasn’t shiny anymore.   
The wood was split and some of the ties were gone.

Every Tuesday on Morales Street
butchers crack the necks of a hundred hens.   
The widow in the tilted house
spices her soup with cinnamon.
Ask her what doesn’t change.

Stars explode.
The rose curls up as if there is fire in the petals.   
The cat who knew me is buried under the bush.

The train whistle still wails its ancient sound   
but when it goes away, shrinking back
from the walls of the brain,
it takes something different with it every time.

"Trying to Name What Doesn't Change" by Naomi Shihab Nye. Text as published in Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995).

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Oscar Wilde: "Magdalen Walks"

The little white clouds are racing over the sky,
    And the fields are strewn with the gold of the flower of March,
    The daffodil breaks under foot, and the tasselled larch
Sways and swings as the thrush goes hurrying by.

A delicate odour is borne on the wings of the morning breeze,
    The odour of deep wet grass, and of brown new-furrowed earth,
    The birds are singing for joy of the Spring's glad birth,
Hopping from branch to branch on the rocking trees.

And all the woods are alive with the murmur and sound of Spring,
    And the rose-bud breaks into pink on the climbing briar,
    And the crocus-bed is a quivering moon of fire
Girdled round with the belt of an amethyst ring.

And the plane to the pine-tree is whispering some tale of love
    Till it rustles with laughter and tosses its mantle of green,
    And the gloom of the wych-elm's hollow is lit with the iris sheen
Of the burnished rainbow throat and the silver breast of a dove.

See! the lark starts up from his bed in the meadow there,
    Breaking the gossamer threads and the nets of dew,
    And flashing adown the river, a flame of blue!
The kingfisher flies like an arrow, and wounds the air.

"Magdalen Walks" by Oscar Wilde. Text as presented on Public Domain Poems.

Curator's note: Wilde's poem is about walks through the grounds of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied on scholarship.

Art credit: Untitled photograph in a series titled "Spring Flowers Magdalen College," by Tejvan Pettinger.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tomas Tranströmer: "Romanesque Arches"

in tribute
Tomas Tranströmer

Inside the huge Romanesque church the tourists jostled in the half darkness.
Vault gaped behind vault, no complete view.
A few candle flames flickered.
An angel with no face embraced me
and whispered through my whole body:
"Don't be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
You will never be complete, that's how it's meant to be."
Blind with tears
I was pushed out on the sun-seething piazza
together with Mr and Mrs Jones, Mr Tanaka, and Signora Sabatini,
and inside them all vault opened behind vault endlessly.

"Romanesque Arches" by Tomas Tranströmer, from New Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011 edition). Translated from the original Swedish by Robin Fulton.

Curator's note: Tomas Tranströmer, one of our mindfulness poets and 2011 winner of the Nobel Prize, died on March 26, 2015, at the age of 83. Here are a couple of quotes to remember him by: "We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones." And this: "I am still the place where creation does some work on itself."

Art credit: Still image from a video in which the poet, who had suffered a stroke, plays left-hand piano to a recording of his beautiful poem "Allegro" (photograph digitally altered by curator).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Richard Schiffman: "Late March"

Again the trees remembered
to make leaves.
In the forest of their recollection
many birds returned
They sang, they sang
because they forgave themselves
the winter, and all that remained
still bitter.
Yet it was early spring,
when the days were touch and go,
and a late snow could nip a shoot,
or freeze a fledgling in its nest.
And where would we be then?
But that’s not the point.
Do you think the magpie doesn’t know
that its chicks are at risk,
or the peach trees, their too-frail blossoms,
the new-awakened bees, all that is
incipient within us?
We know, but we can’t help ourselves
any more than they can,
any more than the earth can
stop hurtling through the night
of its own absence.
Must be something in the sap,
the blood, a force like gravity,
a trick called memory.
You name it. Or leave it nameless
that’s better—
how something returns
and keeps on returning
through a gap,
through a dimensional gate,
through a tear in the veil.
And there it is again.
Another spring.
To woo loss into song.

"Late March" by Richard Schiffman, from Grey Sparrow Journal (Winter, 2015). Presented here by poet submission.

Art credit: Photograph of Australian magpie-lark chicks by Stephen Michael Barnett from Darwin, Australia.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Linda R. O'Connell: "Mindfulness"

It was the probably best raisin I ever had.

The way it just laid there on its side
in my palm, with its dark brown hue.

As if sunbathing on a beach with one hand under its head
luring me in.

Asking me to bring it to my mouth.
To fondle with my parted lips,
its plumpness.

It wasn't enough that my teeth knew
to guide it in to one side.

But my tongue took the time
to allow for the moisture.

Giving full attention.
Right before the biting.
Right before the chewing.

Before the sugar
rained down my throat.

"Mindfulness" by Linda R. O'Connell. © Linda R. O'Connell, 2011. Text as posted on the poet's blog (01/11/11).

Art credit: "terra cibus no.21: raisin," photograph of a raisin taken with an electron microscope at 35x magnification, by Caren Alpert.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pat Riviere-Seel: "Prayer for a Field Mouse"

Bless the gray mouse
that found her way
into the recycle bin.
Bless her tiny body,
no bigger than my thumb,
huddled and numb
against the hard side.
Bless her bright eye,
a frightened gleaming
that opened to me
and the nest she made
from shredded paper,
all I could offer.
Bless her last hours
alone under the lamp
with food and water near.
Bless this brief life
I might have ended
had she stayed hidden
inside the insulation.
Bless her body returned
to earth, no more
or less than any creature.

"Prayer for a Field Mouse" by Pat Riviere-Seel. Text as published in Nothing Below but Air: Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2014). Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: "Wood Mouse [Field Mouse] in the Netherlands," photograph by Rasbak.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Susan Rooke: "A Marriage in the Hands"

You make a fist, that I might see
your skin grow tight again,
smoothed across your hand.

Those big hands that you like
to joke are too heavy when carried
all day at the ends of your arms.

Then you relax your hand,
and all the skin relaxes, letting
go the taut shine of youth,

and I see your sacrifice,
the thirty years you’ve held
us close, held my strength

for me, and all your tenderness.
I put my own hand out, relaxed,
palm down, next to yours.

You are aging, so am I, and this
is something we have sworn
always to do as one. Undeniably

I see we have. Then you make
a fist again. I make my own.
As one we smooth the way ahead.

"A Marriage in the Hands" by Susan Rooke. Text as presented on Your Daily Poem (02/18/2014).

Art credit: "Harmony," photograph by Alexey Skachkov.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ruth L. Schwartz: "Important Thing"

I’ve always loved the way pelicans dive,
as if each silver fish they see
were the goddamned most important
thing they’ve ever wanted on this earth—
and just tonight I learned sometimes
they go blind doing it,
that straight-down dive like someone jumping
from a rooftop, only happier,
plummeting like Icarus, but more triumphant—
       there is the undulating fish,
       the gleaming sea,
there is the chance to taste again
the kind of joy which can be eaten whole,
and this is how they know to reach it,
head-first, high-speed, risking everything,

                and some of the time they come back up
as if it were nothing, they bob on the water,
silver fish like stogies angled
rakishly in their wide beaks,
—then the enormous
                        stretching of the throat,
then the slow unfolding
                             of the great wings,
as if it were nothing, sometimes they do this
a hundred times or more a day,
as long as they can see, they rise
       back into the sky
to begin again—
                and when they can’t?

We know, of course, what happens,
they starve to death, not a metaphor, not a poem in it;

this goes on every day of our lives,
and the man whose melting wings
spatter like a hundred dripping candles
                       over everything,

and the suicide who glimpses, in the final
seconds of her fall,
       all the other lives she might have lived.

                The ending doesn’t have to be happy.
                The hunger itself is the thing.

"Important Thing" by Ruth L. Schwartz. Text as published in Edgewater (HarperCollins Press, 2002). Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: Photograph of California Brown Pelican "dive-bombing for fish," taken June 7, 2007, by Alan M. Pavlik.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wendell Berry: "A Purification"

At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter's accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.

"A Purification" by Wendell Berry. Text as published in New Collected Poems (Counterpoint, 2012).

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Franz Wright: "Parting Word"

As for me
I have no mind
to lose anymore, I am through
with all that—
the sky is my mind
today. (And

it always is
and always was

today.) Blue,
                     her color
sorrowing over us . . .

Does it flow out of or into us, seeing?

Unseen ray of perception the face beams
at things, or
face on which things shine!
I am so glad

that I no longer know,
no longer
And one more thing:

the future?

been there.


"Parting Word" by Franz Wright, from God's Silence: Poems (Knopf Doubleday, 2008).  

Art credit: "The sun in the blue sky," image by unknown photographer.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Carolyn Locke: "What the Rain Left Behind"

All night rain falls from the black above
in thick ropes, a torrential blessing

we've forgotten to ask for. It drums
on every roof and window closed tight

against its fury, gushes in roadside gullies,
sluices pavement. And when it's over,

spider webs glitter in the field—a patchwork
of silver-green. Snail paths cross a sheen

of mud, and great washes of gravel spill
over the road in a swirling collage of sticks,

leaves, and pine needle dams—some broken,
others holding firm. Everywhere, puddles

mirror light's return, carry the memory
of rainbows pulling us all to the windows,

the house a weighted ship listing to starboard,
the lip of its hull sipping holy water.

"What the Rain Left Behind" by Carolyn Locke, from The Place We Become (forthcoming from Maine Authors Publishing, Spring, 2015). Presented here by poet submission.

Art credit: Untitled photograph of the veil of webs left behind by money spiders escaping a flood in East Sussex, England, by Ross Lawford/BNPS.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Jerry Kilbride: Selected Haiku

AIDS march
I keep relighting
the candle I carry

                                 fog . . .
                                 just the tree and I
                                 at the bus stop

                                                                 mother lode country,
                                                                 each morning my eyes search
                                                                 the same mountain

                                 jumping rope
                                 the little girl and her shadow
                                 touch touch touch touch touch

condolence letter—
running out of ink
in mid-sentence

Selected haiku by Jerry Kilbride, from a variety of sources. All the poet's books appear to be out of print. See a bibliography here. Listen to a two-minute segment in observance of his death, presented by National Public Radio (2005).

Art credit: "Girl (6-8) skipping outdoors, casting shadow on ground," photograph by Philip Lee Harvey.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sarah Busse: "Evening Walk, Mid-March"

Tho' there is no new path, just the usual
neighborhood circle, familiar as the salt
caking the pavement squares.

Piles of shrinking snow humped up along the curbs,
each night the puddles freeze, each morning thaw,
and grass, clumped and frizzled, and mud. Mud.

Gritty, dull, the land, the houses. Everything
needs washing, and a second rinse cycle.
But the sky is full of occasion—robins.

Robins invisible
in the still-bare trees, twittering, chirruping
cheerily around the entire suburban block.

It couldn't be called song,
that curiously bubbling chatter-sound they make,
waxy and bibulous as a pubhouse or bridal shower.

cheerio, cheeri-up, killup killaree, killup killaree, cheeri-up, cheerio

Come spring, that much-dreamed distant season, these trees
will bust out green, our salt-stained eyes
rejoice—but not then, not again as

everywhere now the chirping of robins, and water running,
and then and now we are arrived at home.

"Evening Walk, Mid-March" by Sarah Busse, from Quiver: Poems (Red Dragonfly Press, 2009). Text as presented on Your Daily Poem (03/16/2014).

Art credit: "Winter robins flock together at a bird bath," photograph by Becky Stanton.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Al Zolynas: "Love in the Classroom"

                                                     —for my students

Afternoon. Across the garden, in Green Hall,
someone begins playing the old piano—
a spontaneous piece, amateurish and alive,
full of a simple, joyful melody.
The music floats among us in the classroom.

I stand in front of my students
telling them about sentence fragments.
I ask them to find the ten fragments
in the twenty-one-sentence paragraph on page forty-five.
They've come from all parts
of the world—Iran, Micronesia, Africa,
Japan, China, even Los Angeles—and they're still
eager to please me. It's less than half
way through the quarter.

They bend over their books and begin.
Hamid's lips move as he follows
the tortuous labyrinth of English syntax.
Yoshie sits erect, perfect in her pale make-up,
legs crossed, quick pulse minutely jerking her right foot. Tony,
from an island in the South Pacific, sprawls
limp and relaxed in his desk.

The melody floats around and through us
in the room, broken here and there, fragmented,
re-started. It feels Mideastern, but
it could be jazz, or the blues—it could be
anything from anywhere.
I sit down on my desk to wait,
and it hits me from nowhere—a sudden,
sweet, almost painful love for my students.

"Nevermind," I want to cry out.
"It doesn't matter about fragments.
Finding them or not. Everything's
a fragment and everything's not a fragment.
Listen to the music, how fragmented,
how whole, how we can't separate the music
from the sun falling on its knees on all the greenness,
from this moment, how this moment
contains all the fragments of yesterday
and everything we'll ever know of tomorrow!"

Instead, I keep a coward's silence.
The music stops abruptly;
they finish their work,
and we go through the right answers,
which is to say
we separate the fragments from the whole.

"Love in the Classroom" by Al Zolynas. Text as published in Under Ideal Conditions: Poems (Laterthanever Press, 1994; no bookseller link available). © Al Zolynas. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: "Open Window," acrylic on canvas, abstract painting by Filomena De Andrade Booth.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Luci Shaw: "Revival"

March. I am beginning
to anticipate a thaw. Early mornings
the earth, old unbeliever, is still crusted with frost
where the moles have nosed up their
cold castings, and the ground cover
in shadow under the cedars hasn't softened
for months, fogs layering their slow, complicated ice
around foliage and stem
night by night,

but as the light lengthens, preacher
of good news, evangelizing leaves and branches,
his large gestures beckon green
out of gray. Pinpricks of coral bursting
from the cotoneasters. A single bee
finding the white heather. Eager lemon-yellow
aconites glowing, low to the ground like
little uplifted faces. A crocus shooting up
a purple hand here, there, as I stand
on my doorstep, my own face drinking in heat
and light like a bud welcoming resurrection,
and my hand up, too, ready to sign on
for conversion.


"Revival" by Luci Shaw,  from What the Light Was Like: Poems (WordFarm, 2006).

Art credit: Untitled photograph of first crocuses of spring in Rochester, New York (USA), by Basia Kruszewska. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi: Untitled ["Look at love"]

look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don’t get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be


Untitled ["Look at love"] by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, from Rumi: Fountain of Fire, translated from the original Farsi by Nader Khalili (Cal-Earth Press, 1994). Text as presented on Poetry Chaikhana (September 23, 2011).

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer, taken at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. During the wet season, the salt flat in the Bolivian Andes (3800 square miles) turns into a shallow salt lake and the world’s largest natural mirror.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Margaret Chula: "Afterimage"

They made us leave our orchards
just before the harvest—my daughter
only three and in captivity.

                 juicy Hood River strawberries
                 melt in your mouth
                 stain our hands red 

Eyelashes white with dust
mouths dry with desert heat
we drag thousand-pound rocks.

                 from a springy green stem
                 plump Rainier cherries
                 taste of sun and sugar 

From basalt boulders, moonscape of sand
and alkaline soil, our restless hands build
patches of beauty at Minidoka.

                 the mighty Columbia
                 Mt. Hood rising from the clouds
                 the nourishing rain of my home 

Shielding my eyes from the scorching sun
I breathe in the calmness of our karesansui
perfectly raked sand and upright stones.

"Afterimage" by Margaret Chula, from What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps, poems by Margaret Chula, quilts by Cathy Erickson (Katsura Press, 2012). Presented here by poet submission.

Hear the poet contextualize and read the poem.

Art credit: "Steps," quilt by Cathy Erickson, to which the poem was written.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Nancy Shaffer: "Calling"

When you heard that voice and 
knew finally it called for you
and what it was saying—where
were you? Were you in the shower,
wet and soapy, or chopping cabbage
late for dinner? Were you planting radish
seeds or seeking one lost sock? Maybe
wiping handprints off a window
or coaxing words into a sentence.
Or coming upon a hyacinth or one last No.
Where were you when you heard that ancient
voice, and did Yes get born right then
and did you weep? Had it called you since
before you even were, and when you
knew that, did your joy escape all holding?
Where were you when you heard that
calling voice, and how, in that moment,
did you mark it? How, ever after,
are you changed?

Tell us, please, all you can about that voice.
Teach us how to listen, how to hear.

Teach us all you can of saying Yes.

"Calling" by Nancy Shaffer. Text as published in Instructions in Joy: Meditations (Skinner House Books, 2002).

Art credit: "73/366 — Handprint," photograph by Abigail Thompson Photography.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Richard Greene: "First Notes"

Though winter is with us still
the birds have begun to sing
to the cues of spring,
first a cardinal, then a wren
and now this morning in early March,
as a chill dawn pinks the sky,
the wistful fluting of a mourning dove
which, after winter’s longueurs,
when few but crows were heard,
now finds itself bestirred 
to loose its song.

[Curator's note: Listen to the call of a mourning dove.]

"First Notes" by Richard Greene, from Explorations (Antrim House Books, 2009). Text as published on the poet's website. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Audio credit: William R. Fish, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Art credit: "Mourning Dove," image by unknown photographer with Bird & Blooms.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ron Padgett: "Inaction of Shoes"

There are many things to be done today
and it's a lovely day to do them in

Each thing a joy to do
and a joy to have done

I can tell because of the calm I feel
when I think about doing them

I can almost hear them say to me
Thank you for doing us

And when evening comes
I'll remove my shoes and place them on the floor

And think how good they look
sitting? . . . standing? . . . there

Not doing anything

"Inaction of Shoes" by Ron Padgett, from How Long: Poems (Coffee House Press, 2011). Reprinted by permission of the poet and the publisher.

Art credit: "Shoe Portrait," still life drawing by RenEscar.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Stephen Levine: "Not Knowing"

I may not know my original face
but I know how to smile.
I may not know the recipe for the diameter
of a circle but I know how to cut a slice
for a friend. I may not be Mary or the Buddha
but I can be kind. I may not be a diamond
cutter but I still long for rays of light
that reach the heart.
I may not be standing on the hill of skulls
but I know love when I see it.

"Not Knowing" by Stephen Levine, from Breaking the Drought: Visions of Grace (Larson Publications, 2007).

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.

Update (3/11/15): Thanks to some clues provided by YOBH reader Cee Joppe, I've located some information about the photograph. It originated online at this link, which unfortunately is dead. However, here's the caption (from 2011): "Yamar huurhen um be? [Mongolian for `abundant in happiness'] I’m reblogging this picture from my Peace Corps Mongolia days with a tag since I’ve been seeing it around the web and around tumblr with no source. Enjoy and reblog away! The original source is my Mongolian friend Gangaa. The picture was originally taken in Khentii Aimag."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Michael Blumenthal: "A Man Lost by a River"

There is a voice inside the body.
There is a voice and a music,
a throbbing, four-chambered pear
that wants to be heard, that sits
alone by the river with its mandolin
and its torn coat, and sings
for whomever will listen
a song that no one wants to hear.

But sometimes, lost,
on his way to somewhere significant,
a man in a long coat, carrying
a briefcase, wanders into the forest.

He hears the voice and the mandolin,
he sees the thrush and the dandelion,
and he feels the mist rise over the river.

And his life is never the same,
for this having been lost—
for having strayed from the path of his routine,
for no good reason.

"A Man Lost by a River" by Michael Blumenthal. Text as published in Against Romance (Viking-Penguin, 1987; republished Pleasure Boat Studios, 2005). © Michael Blumenthal. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: "Man with Briefcase in Fog," photograph by Lee Avison.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Victoria Millar: "Credo"

Seeds under the ground on a mid-winter’s night
sleep with their dreams of Spring.
They are dancing, tunneling, settling in,
finding just the right place to begin
their sprouting. But first, they must rest,
gather to themselves the vision
of what they will be.
Is it faiththis survival spirit, this
willingness to abide, to seek darkness,
even revel in it, to be willingly
unnoticed for long months of the year?
I want to believe in my own renewing,
let body and spirit rest, refuse to exhaust myself
in someone else’s expectations, grow old
before my time, cast off, disposed of.
I want to be recycled endlessly, and flower again
and yet again unexpectedly, bloom into
a surprising color for an old woman, ripe
with wrinkled youth and vigorous beauty,
with twinkling eyes in deep sockets,
making them wonder
just how I do it.

"Credo" by Victoria Millar. Text as published by Pietisten: A Herald of Awakening and Spiritual Edification (Spring/Summer 2010). 

Art credit: "Sun Seed," abstract painting (mixed media on panel) by Cammy Davis. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Max Reif: "To a Visionary Whose Name I'll Never Know"

This is to you, lady who smiled at me
as I came out of the subway at 14th Street

and walked down 6th Avenue in the winter of '74
having just arrived in New York. Gentle feathers

of snow had just begun falling from the black.
I felt myself taken into your eyes, and suddenly

was no longer a confused young man
wondering whether every next step was the right one,

but a light-being, love built into his cells,
leaning forward, poised to give.

Thirty-five years later
I still walk those tunnels of your eyes

down the line of your smile
toward that person you saw in me.

"To a Visionary Whose Name I'll Never Know" by Max Reif. First published in Tiferet: Literature, Art, & the Creative Spirit. Presented here by poet submission. To read more of Max Reif's writings, go to Faith of an Artist—The Writings of Max Reif.

Art credit: Untitled photograph of old New York City subway token, presumably by Eric Sandstrom, published in "Good for One Fare," The New York Times (1/30/2013).

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sarah Gilbert: "Tracks"

A quarter inch of wet March snow
each footprint on the sidewalk
clear, pressing flakes to melting

here my husband’s shoes
walking to work
there small bootprints of a school child

I follow my dog as we lap the block
her paired prints slaloming in a trot
mine pacing out behind me

and everywhere the drip prints
of tree branches, the tracks of squirrels
precise, perfect

front feet back feet as if pressed
in plaster or drawn in the guide book
by noon they’ll be gone

but for this moment they are here
crisp record of the morning
and I am here to witness

"Tracks" by Sarah Gilbert. Text as posted on Your Daily Poem (3/02/2014).

Art credit: Photograph by Annette Gendler, from her blog post entitled "Those Who Trod Before Me" (1/15/2015).  An excerpt, remarkably resonant with this poem: "A freshly snowed-on sidewalk reveals who has walked before us. I never quite appreciated that until yesterday morning.... As I walked along. listening to the squish of the snow under my boots, I looked more closely at the footsteps on the sidewalk in front of me. Someone had walked his or her dog; paw prints ran parallel to adult footsteps, except when they didn't.... And somehow this revealing capacity of snow made me happy because it was something that could only be experienced in that very moment with the snow thin enough to give prominence to the footsteps, and the salt still at bay."