WOW. gives me the chills – enjoy this fine poem by David St. John, courtesy of American Life in Poetry. If you haven’t yet signed up for the column, you can do so here.
American Life in Poetry: Column 390
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
David St. John is a California poet whose meticulous care with every word has always impressed
me. This poem is a fine example of how clarity can let us see all the way to the heart.
From a Bridge
I saw my mother standing there below me
On the narrow bank just looking out over the river
Looking at something just beyond the taut middle rope
Of the braided swirling currents
Then she looked up quite suddenly to the far bank
Where the densely twined limbs of the cypress
Twisted violently toward the storm-struck sky
There are some things we know before we know
Also some things we wish we would not ever know
Even if as children we already knew & so
Standing above her on that bridge that shuddered
Each time the river ripped at its wooden pilings
I knew I could never even fate willing ever
Get to her in time
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2011 by David St. John, whose new collection, The Auroras, is forthcoming from Harper Collins. Poem reprinted from “Poetry,” July/August 2011, by permission of David St. John and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
American Life in Poetry ©2006 The Poetry Foundation
This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.