Shadows don black overcoats, fedoras

and masks. They travel incognito under

the noonday sun. Trailing them through

time: a bright undercurrent of gold.

I have embraced the V-ing branches

of oaks as they rise to scrape the sky. I have

exchanged stanzas with the whispering winds,

who chant only the glory of growth and change.

England witches water to fill the brilliant lakes

that Coleridge and Wordsworth sang. I circle

Rydall Water in a typical nor’western downpour.

Even stale, lichen-stained caves offer no relief.


Poetry is a trail that only prophets can walk.

Visionaries sketch out revelations on black slate

boards adorning schoolhouse desks. Wordsworth

carved his name into one. Such a stark beginning.

Do Oedipal urges fling us into conflict with ancient

ancestors? Do laureled poets turn us green with envy,

red with rage at accomplishments we will never

match? Questions do not a good poem make.

My overcoat is black, my fedora and weathered mask,

too. I sneak into the single file of unseen shadows.

They ambulate toward Ambleside and splash

blue tides on lake beds. I could write a glorious poem,

but then I would be known, outside the circle of black,

alone on the fells, searching for waters to wash me clean.

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