from a phrase by Seamus Heaney



This bedroom high in the old house,
its roof pitched steeply overhead,


traps the lakewater sounds, afloat
on what it holds: liquid lapping.


I could lie here half the day long,
hearing rain wrung out of the sky,


windows open, so the outer
breath and green of the world get in.


The alder’s scabbed, serrated leaves
that will fail later in the fall


fulfill themselves, a waterfall
steeped in the greening chlorophyll.


That stir of limbs against the roof
must be the native Douglas fir—


a winter friend because it keeps
the housebound memory evergreen.


Most of all, the cedar rises,
huge and straight, the hulking host


and omphalos of my dream world,
its rootedness a kind of triumph.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 16 Number 7, on page 32
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