- Reading the Landscape
Frost-reddened brush,a green blaze of hemlock,a crooked rope of silverwhere the stream runscrystal and silent.
The traffic here of mice and rabbits,grouse and fox, a stencilingof shadows, white upon white.
The blackened sparsof the poplar groveslash their shadowson snow-perfect ground.
Such script repeatson bank after bankas if charactersfrom that first languageI am only now beginning to read.
And without hope of translationthe best I can dois hold out my hand:an invitation, a greeting,a first breath behind the first letterin the first word. [End Page 21]
Marc Harshman is the author of the poetry collections Green-Silver and Silent and All That Feeds Us: The West Virginia Poems, and most recently Believe What You Can: Poems, which won the Weatherford Award in Poetry. His periodical publications include The Georgia Review, The Progressive, Roanoke Review, Bayou, and Shenandoah. His eleven children's books include The Storm, and new children's titles are forthcoming. Harshman is the poet laureate of West Virginia and lives in Wheeling.