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Three Poems

From: CEA Critic
Volume 75, Number 2, July 2013
pp. 183-185 | 10.1353/cea.2013.0010

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Opinions, Beliefs, and Perspectives

The creek doesn’t have them.
Neither do the ponderosa pines along the steep,
knotted banks. And the rocks lodged in
  the creek don’t know
they rest for now surrounded by icy water.
Nor do they feel the water, chilled,
unpotable or pure, gurgling along
their slick, mineral-veined sides.

The water, meanwhile, snowmelt from somewhere
deep in the interior, doesn’t call itself
  water, is unaware of being
called, of flowing around the scarred side
of the mountain, flowing into a hiker’s cup,
  falling and flowing
into the blue, cloudless sky.

As for me, called to the creek,
for a few minutes, I let the world
trundle on without commenting,
no separate viewpoints.
  Everywhere I look
I see myself walking. I am not the water
but it clearly is me, a flowing gate
without qualities or need for proof,
a creek made of diamonds
uncalled—oh, nameless westerner—
  broken open by
ten thousand blades of sunlight.

One Glance, Boulder Creek

The walking stick leaned
against a boulder at the creek’s edge.
Let the record show for three days
   the stick was all that remained
of the traveler and his song.

On the fourth day an office worker
from the nearby business park
  noticed a cut-rate javelin,
a gnarled nub for old men, one glance,
and tossed it into the water.

Or maybe smitten with the creek
  inside him, after three days
of lunching by the chilled auroras of water,
bagged and burned out, he never
saw the stick or imagined

the splinters and fibers, slim, snapped-off
furniture of idealists and seekers.
  One glance and he gazed
right through it, never
to ponder the possibility

of his own aching feet or the deathless
generosity of common things,
never to ask, wandering,
of no fixed address: what is a day
  without sticks?

The Kayakers

Some of them scrape against the boulders;
others get tangled in the weeds and detritus
along the slippery, late-spring banks;
  still others, a few perhaps,
understand how to read the current,
gauge depth and speed,
and shoot through the rapids.

For them, no distraction,
  no time for fear.
They paddle their sleek fiberglass boats
through the shining water.
They negotiate the froth and boil
  with skill, illumination
as if well-versed in the myths of down creek,
unconcerned with arriving.

And then the one by himself, always one
like a monk in a monastery
  of shimmering
cottonwood trees and sky, water
smashing through the canyon around him—

he bows and dips his hand in the creek
before launching. The boat already forgotten,
the day long gone, all he hears is
  the one-noted, unchanging roar
of water that is not water,
Colorado in an otherworldly key
  rising up inside him.

Sigman Byrd  

Sigman Byrd’s first book of poems, Under the Wanderer’s Star, won the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize. A new manuscript, The Three Doors Beyond Saying, is currently making the rounds to publishers. Poems from the collection have been published or are forthcoming in Antioch Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume, Southwest Review, and other journals.

Copyright © 2013 College English Association
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Sigman Byrd. "Three Poems." CEA Critic 75.2 (2013): 183-185. Project MUSE. Web. 22 Jul. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Byrd, S.(2013). Three Poems. CEA Critic 75(2), 183-185. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved July 22, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Sigman Byrd. "Three Poems." CEA Critic 75, no. 2 (2013): 183-185. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 22, 2013).
T1 - Three Poems
A1 - Sigman Byrd
JF - CEA Critic
VL - 75
IS - 2
SP - 183
EP - 185
PY - 2013
PB - The Johns Hopkins University Press
SN - 2327-5898
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cea_critic/v075/75.2.byrd.html
N1 - Volume 75, Number 2, July 2013
ER -


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