Today's poem is by D. Nurske


There was a passerby on that road
under the peeling beech,
the oak, the fronded cedar,
the poplars planted by the stream
with exact spaces between them,
and we children were forbidden
to speak to him, we followed him—
he was from the war, they said,
and he talked to himself
so we shouted take that
and threw filbert shells,
thistleheads, things that would startle
but not hurt, and he did not turn:
he touched the stream
with his stick, his lips moved,
we saw he was counting—
counting ripples? By winter
he was gone and we chased
the fat fantail pigeons
with real stones, sometimes
they flinched in midair
or pirouetted with a terrible awkwardness,
and we laughed and slapped hands,
relieved for a moment
of a small constant burden.

Copyright © 2008 D. Nurske All rights reserved
from The Manhattan Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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