Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PARAGRAPHS: 9, by HAYDEN CARRUTH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PARAGRAPHS: 9, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: It was the custom of my tribe to be silent
Last Line: Indivisible, unvoiced
Subject(s): Native Americans; Snow; Indians Of America; American Indians; Indians Of South America

It was the custom of my tribe to be silent,
to think the song inwardly, tune and word
so beautiful they could be only held,
not sung; held and heard
in quietness while walking the end of the field
where birches make a grove, or standing by the rail
in back of the library in some northern
city, or in the long dream of a tower
of gothic stoniness; and always we were alone.
Yet sometimes two
heard it, two separately together. It could come
nearby in the shadow of a pine bough
on the snow, or high in the orchestral lights,
or maybe (this was our miracle) it would have no
intermediary --
a suddenness,
indivisible, unvoiced.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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