Voice on the Trail
“and at last I saw : where
the road lay through sunlight and many voices and the marvel
orchards, not for me, not for me, not for me.”
-from the poem ‘Then I Saw What the Calling Was’ by Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)
All the voices of the Wood called “Shannon!”
But it was soon solved; it is nothing, it is not
my real name.
My real name is written on a stone kept warm by eternal
embers I am still too cold to hold.
Words like Real and Endure
Sound like Health and Hell
Then I see what is calling, it was the road
I traveled, miles behind, warning me of the FORK
The sound bounces forward, then back, right-side-down
warns of mud ahead―not to me, but to anyone.
And at last I saw where the road lies wide,
and clear orchard rows, easy fruit and bundled grass
roll along a tan, green and blue landscape.
Not for me. Not for me. Not for me.
I came into my clear being uncalled, alive, and sure
of all but what I see.
Nothing speaking to me, none know my real name―
not the owl, the fish or the elk, but I offer myself
to the strangers and it is well.
Strangers we are.
I know them all.
2 thoughts on “Poem: Voice on the Trail”
When our names are unknown we are our breath, and can be called She Who Breathes. ❤
Thank you for your encouraging comments Susanissima!
Poems are such interesting puzzles. An editor/friend of mine, who I asked regarding this poem, just returned her review. She thought the poem would have more power if I brought it into the present tense; which I did right away, in full agreement. She also recommended two different lines for the end, under the thought that it made the poem more mysterious.
My lines: “Strangers we all are, I know them not.”
Her lines: “Strangers we are. I know them all.”
Her argument is that we all know each other because we are basically the same inside, wants, needs etc. I feel it prestigious to assume I KNOW a person. (Do we ever really know anyone?)
Conversation went on a bit. I’ll leave it how it is for now. My book is scheduled for editing in Fall 2015.