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A REFUGE FOR POETS WHO WRITE IN THE LYRIC TRADITION,
WITH RHYME AND METER, WITH OR WITHOUT MUSIC
“That’s a hard way to get anywhere,” the man said,
As I paddled alone in a two-man canoe.
He shouted these words as his motorboat sped,
Disturbing the peace of the late afternoon.
I thought it was odd to be judged by this man
For being in less of a hurry than he.
I live in the present, wherever I am.
I already was where I wanted to be:
In the backwater swamp with the reeds and the rushes,
Hearing the songs of the sparrows and thrushes,
Feeling the wind as it rustled the leaves,
Watching the blue heron looking at me,
Seeing the delicate lilies in bloom,
Looking for tracks of the deer and raccoon,
Allowing the current to float me downstream,
Drifting through life in a dream.
I cannot understand this obsession with speed,
Gasoline-powered toys, and very loud noise,
For I am a man with the simplest of needs,
Content to be here with the rushes and reeds.
Canton, New York, 2001
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