Twas warm, wet, and windy out
and smelled of what we farming folk
call the spring perfume, and melting snow.
I headed down to Silver Creek
the flooded banks to see, roamed
tan ghosts of reeds that are the shore,
and found some beaver’s branch:
Heavy, I said, this ought
to batter down some dams.
And flung it to the flood,
walked and shared its road,
caught in morasses of dead wood,
time and again set free. I thought:
How I long the stick were me,
going no direction but my own,
sticking, being loosed with sticks
by some young god attending.
Or get caught up for good
at the head of a minor falls
beside the great wedged heroes
of before my day, washed cleaner
by the passing world; or hey!
He draws me up again—
I could spend the rest of life on land,
but lo! He casteth me in again.
The journey rebegins.
I thought of what I’ll say to the policeman
who finds me snooping Upper Canada.
“I’m just walking, something more exciting
than staying on the path…” (“What could be
more exciting than staying on the path?”)
Or the defence I’ll give to the girl who says
I should keep shoes clean, not muddy ’em
in perils to free some stick that will be stuck
again. To understand me all you’ve got
is to see that one I want to do,
the other not.