m_topn picture

A U G U S T   1 9 9 7

m_rub_po picture


by John Skoyles

Hear John Skoyles read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

If we stare too far ahead
we trip over the feeblest root.

If we look back
we become shadows,
people who pick up accents
from a long stay in a strong country.

If we take too much care,
fearful of the god
whose footfalls we hear approaching,
we go nowhere,

caught in the song
of our age,
a flickering storm of ash
from the raked leaves.

In that flurry
a black butterfly
bats the air
as it dips through the cinders.

Which one's on fire?
Which has a home in this world?

John Skoyles teaches poetry writing at Emerson College, in Boston. A new book of his poems, Definition of the Soul, will be published next year.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; August 1997; History; Volume 280, No. 2; page 56.

m_nv_cv picture m_nv_un picture m_nv_am picture m_nv_pr picture m_nv_as picture m_nv_se picture