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“Only The Traveler Can Change the Journey”

is how we convince ourselves
these days though sometimes
we look elsewhere, think
to reassemble you, fog,
thrumming man fast to shift
through four A.M. piles of poems,
all sky and juniper, the trout
quicksilvering the brook.
And the question of solitude
has always been answered
by one pine needle
refusing to fall. What remains:
hard as redwood, the deep bite
of axe. Ferns where your feet
moved slow and far from people.
In August the light
lies down like an elk
for the river, the hills, this
earth that we touch,
Old friend, it lies down.

(in memory of William Stafford)

– Thom Ward

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