Poetry Friday: Lost by David Wagoner

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The poetry round-up this week is hosted by Michelle Kogan.

I haven’t felt like writing these past two weeks, nothing I have to say seems worthy of being written, or perhaps the real reason is the sense of confusion and anxiety I feel well up every time I try to address what it is that I feel and think.

My  children have hunkered down in their Brooklyn apartments, working from home and trying to stir as little as possible into deserted streets for the occasional trip to the grocery store or laundromat.  They sound tired, stressed, uncertain, and more than just a bit without a sense of hope.  The future, even tomorrow, seems full of dread.  Once their self-quarantines have come to an end, they plan to drive up to the farm for as long as necessary.

Here in upstate New York, farm life goes on for one and all.  I can see lights twinkling  from the dairy down the valley early every morning, and the cornfields everywhere around us are already being prepped for Spring planting.  The feed store, which I visit at least once every week, is still a busy place.  Yesterday was warm, which made me commit to putting through the order of summer flower seeds I’d been pining after.  The Angora goats arrive in two weeks, and I went ahead with plans to build a small pen for them within the barn.  The flock will be sheared soon, and I am getting ready with plans for their gorgeous fleeces.

It’s important to stay abreast of the news in times like these, and so I dip in here and there to learn what I can.  Little of the news is good, it seems, and then I read about good people doing good deeds. It brings to mind Fred Rogers’ observation :“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  There are many people helping out there, rising to the occasion, doing the hard things necessary to keep others safe and well tended to.

And there is Nature, free of charge, offering her comforts, too…

Lost by David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

6 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Lost by David Wagoner

  1. I hope your kids will be able to make it home to the farm soon. Mine is here–home from college for online classes to finish her senior year. i have not read this poem before, but it seems perfect for today. It pairs well with Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things” that Karen shared.

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  2. Lovely, Tara. Simply lovely. And soothing. Today, on this spring equinox weekend, Hubby and I are taking a drive out to the country here in Central Washington state to visit Cowiche Creek Nursery. Perhaps we’ll find pansies. We’ll take Charlie along for the ride. Charlie is our Cocker Spaniel, a comforter and companion, especially in troubled times. He enjoys car outings; perhaps it’s the change in routine. I’ll look forward to seeing your Angora goats when they arrive (and you have time to snap pictures). They sound, well, lovely.

    Keep well. Country air is good for you. ~ Jo

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  3. Hi Tara,
    First your kids. I will keep them in my thoughts and hope they will get to you soon and in good health. The poem Lost is one I have never read and just love. It is perfect for this time. So much to learn about our world. I love that you are on your farm. Thanks for this wonderful share.

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  4. Hi Tara! Thank you for sharing that stunning poem. I’m going to send it to my kids. I have a son in NYC and he is anxious but trying to make the best of it. Yes, Mr. Rodgers was wise to tell us to think about the helpers. I hope they are being well cared for.

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  5. Yes, Nature, free of charge is what I love always. The poem speaks loud, wishing many would realize how healing nature can be, wishing parents would show their children. Nathan & Barb have traveled to help Carter move out of his dorm & come home. He is sad that his first year has ended so abruptly. Best to you & the kids coming home soon.

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