Poetry February 1998

Falling Water

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Audio:
Hear Peter Davison read "Falling Water", recorded in 1998.

 

 

 

 

Wherever it commences perhaps as random
    raindrop tapping on a leaf and tumbling
        into a tea-stained mosscup

it helplessly inquires after
    lower levels whether seeping
        darkly through silt

and marl to enlarge an imprisoned
    aquifer shortcut or taking its chances to trickle
        out through a slit of clay to join its first

brook and amble off into the yielding
    soft-shouldered marsh past fat roots of
        lilies to linger among the slick fronds

of algae paddled by ducks pierced by
    pickerel to hurry itself and
        whisk into the outlet that will boil it

along a streambed grid of gravel toward another
    stairstep of idleness the lucid
        lake spritzed with sparkling sun

there to seek its breach to tip and hurtle into
    yawning torrent and the great meander
        that will sweep it slow and away out

and empty into the broad salt
    sleep that will cradle it until
        the sun siphons it again
        to knit into more rain.



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Peter Davison was The Atlantic's longtime poetry editor.

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