Poem: Voice on the Trail

Copy of Picture 177

Voice on the Trail

—with a nod to poet 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.



Published by

Shannon Laws

Shannon P. Laws lives in the Pacific Northwest. She is a published poet, currently working on a series of short stories. For seven years she produced award-winning community radio programs that promoted the PNW music/art community. Shannon's other interests include operating her voice-over company, Chickadee Productions.

2 thoughts on “Poem: Voice on the Trail”

  1. 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.


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