let it find you...

from my anthology of must read (a)merican poems

David Wagoner


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.


“Wherever you are is called Here” – An amazing moment in this poem.

David Wagoner, editor of the great Poetry Northwest (1966-2002), is a strong voice for the planet. He writes, “The forest breathes. Listen. It answers”. He focuses this piece on the unique characteristics that surround us, that we are a part of ... that are also a part of us. Forest, surely, is working as metaphor. A wilderness where creativity is born.

The poem’s maxim, “Stand still” is, or certainly should be, the way to live one’s life. This appears at odds with how most would think life should be lived. But, other paths move only into and out of fragmentation. Slow down, Wagoner is telling the reader. Become a part of the whole. You must let it find you – Here I feel the poet stirring well beyond the woods’ finding and knowing us – moving into a recognition of something stronger that tugs at, that gives to, that enters all beings. Very muse-like.

A poem that will outlast all eyes scanning pages. This is one to follow.

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