[39] Burden of Words, Pepper Trail

All day, I carried Seamus Heaney on my back
The Selected Poems, 1966-1996
Through the redwoods, the long trail
From the Godwood Creek ridge to the sea

Who else, I thought, could teach the words
I would need for the measureless trees,
The moss-green silence, the work the wren’s song
Does in that silence, words for the nurse logs
The bole-splitting burn scars, the snags
Pointing their fingers at the sky

But in the end the poet remained in my bag
His incantations to the bog man and the spade
Unvoiced, earthed within the shuttered pages
Another world–a great one, but another

This world, should be sung in a native tongue
Not his nor our discordant English
qawh-kyoh, k’it’ung’-dingq’och’, mije:q’e’-xole:n
Hupa for redwood and wood sorrel and banana slug
Big-yew and leaf-sour and plenty-of-slime
Words I can find, but cannot speak

So I am left standing in the fern-dark canyon
My ragged cloak of fog pierced by distant light

Heavy with the burden of words carried by
The impenetrable dictionaries of silence

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close