Poem: Voice on the Trail


Copy of Picture 177


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.





Published by Shannon Laws

Like my writing? Want to hear me read my poetry? Please visit https://chickadeeproductions.bandcamp.com/releases and download some today. Only $1.00 a poem! Shannon Laws is a Pacific Northwest poet. Her story-telling poetry has touched many hearts and minds. She is the author of four poetry books, the most recent “Fallen” published by Independent Writer’s Studio Press. Shannon has received two Mayor’s Arts Awards and the Community Champion Award for promoting local artists on community radio and encouraging peace and understanding through community poetry events. She makes her home in Bellingham, Washington, USA.

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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