by Robin Chapman
BY THE WISCONSIN RIVER
Walk the old logging trails
through the spring woods,
six miles out to the spine of the ridgeline,
walk the tractor paths overlooking the river
six miles back to the bluff and road.
Walk the deer trails through the underbrush,
walk through the aspens just showing their green
and the carpets of leaf mold,
walk through the red of the poison ivy leaflets,
the whiplash of raspberry canes.
Walk through the prairie’s first showing
of pussytoes, puccoon, and bird’s foot violets,
walk through the tick-ridden grasses,
walk through the wild phlox
and unfurling ferns of maidenhair.
Walk through the cloudshapes
moving on turned fields,
walk through the sunsoaked uplands,
the lilacs of old foundations,
the white light of wild plum at wood-edge.
Walk the river margin, sandhills calling,
walk through the morning, walk through afternoon–
return with empty hands to the city.
Dream into the long green well of walking
that opens now whenever your eyes close.
Originally appeared on Tom Montag's blog,