My new poems podcast, Words by Winter, can be found here.
A few days ago we hiked a remote trail north of Yellowstone, a passage between two high ridges that had burned maybe twenty years ago. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Avoid places where ravens have gathered. Dress your kill and remove the meat immediately. Because I’m scared (understatement) of bears, I constantly scanned the ridges and the rushing creek between them.
Half an hour in, the sound of high-pitched screaming rose from behind the ridge line. We stopped and stared at each other. Bears? The wailing was carried on the wind, and we realized it was the wind itself, rising above and between the ridges and slopes littered with charred trunks. An unearthly companion, marking the twists and turns of the trail, the waterfalls, the huge burnt trunks and the little new pines growing in their wake. A reminder –a relief?–of how small my humanness is, how inconsequential in the great scheme of the wilderness.
So Much of the World, by Gregory Djanikian
So much of the world exists
the mountain in its own steepness
the deer sliding
into the trees becoming
in the woods’ darkness.
So much of an open field
lies somewhere between the grass
and the dragonfly’s drive and thrum
the seed and seedling,
the earth within.
But so much of it lies in someone
standing alone at the edge of a field
with a life apart
feeling for a moment
the plover’s cry
on the tongue
the curve and plumb
of the apple bough
in limb and bone.
So much of it between
one thing and another,
days of invitation,
then of release and return.