Spring Woods

 
    1

     Could you see through time this closed porch
beginning to remember, or, as some old friends said,
beginning to resemble names the miles made familiar,
and the lifetimes saved in them, what might you learn
from Coeur d’Alene, from time applying the guide-book
rules-of-thumb to western creatures, according to colors,
sounds, flashing parts you’d think there’s no mistaking,
more for the fun than certitude, for work we might make
light of by returning, and the learning, as that goes,
matched to the states, the sidewalks where pilgrims knelt
before approaching, to climb or sigh for stuff they
had in mind to ask there, leaving their tools dialed back,
the course of obsolescence built into the language
they’d been born for, tasked by the schooling, by mornings
away or village salaries, by views they’ve kept up with,
beginning in time, it seems, and delivered who knows where,
if not these topmost branches clouds and blue make
something of, even as budding might, and twenty states, or
the steps you try along the stone road to the post-box,
back into woods again, where the garage door’s raised despite
the critters it might welcome, a little slow as yet,
with the winter dreams mid-April, sheet by sheet, displays
a way through. What if the coffee’s strong, from hours
in the carafe, or the sun stands up, encouraging line after
watched line, worked or wasted finally, meaning
to prove some vibrancy exists in its expressing, in scenes
we’ve spent a buck per mile to discover, playing
their own parts now, as we, come gladly to, acquaint ourselves
in the communion, inclined as we are to celebrate,
back to these spring woods, where cardinals and doves
let finches ornament the moment, and later, after dark,
these peepers seem to own the night themselves, the dark’s
benign patrols, on the limbs they’ll leave to a night’s
own entertainments, with so many ways of saying once,
of saying suppose, saying the joys and praises sensed,
and better, we believe, to feel how good we get
at this, and twenty states, and the ways
     of telling it.
 

     2

     What was that but growing up, with all its variants?
What, if father had welcomed that move west
and his promotion, would Denver have meant for kids
from Irish, German, and Italian neighborhoods,
and how would I get to Laramie, east again into Ohio, and
home with you, Elizabeth, with our Sebring woods
and poems, porch chairs and photographs, Lord knows,
I could not be without, emboldened by all of it,
by twenty states, and so many ways of being heard, as these
two decades seem, and, as ever, gaze and glance
and gesture, trying ourselves out, where we’ve arrived
to celebrate our travel at this table, to see
nine thousand miles, this season in a new year, enjoying
the woods informed by how many takes on seeing,
even these peepers, love, missed in our absence then, and
these, correcting balance, being here, these
evenings in woods made new again by musing, as sequoia,
ponderosa, aspen, as Joshua, we make believe,
might well anticipate, the good garnered humors lingering,
speaking to us, shared in continent-wide songs
we hear as layers, lyrics the moon assists tonight, and
the earth, seen commonly, from how many million
miles, as it comes round mindfully, to a glimpse, mood,
to these Ohio woods southeast of Cleveland, these
ocean-whispered groves, towering and teasing pictures,
their place in the local tones, tunes, approvals, in
this work we share, these anniversaries joined alike
by travel and returning, so that we might
     be anywhere.

 

 

 

Robert LietzRobert Lietz’s poems have appeared in more than one hundred journals, including Agni Review, The Georgia Review, The North American Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah. Eight collections of poems have been published, including Running in PlaceAt Park and East DivisionThe Lindbergh Half-century, The Inheritance Storm Service, and After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems. Lietz spends a good deal of time making photographs, examining the relationship between them and poems he has made and is exploring.
 
Read poems by Robert Lietz appearing in Terrain.org: Issue 19, Issue 12, Issue 11, and Issue 7.

Header photo by dugdax, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Robert Lietz by Elizabeth Williams.

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