Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SPRING WALK, by KAREN SWENSON



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SPRING WALK, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: My father and I go for a walk
Last Line: Rotting in the green spring sun.
Subject(s): Fathers; Mortality; Time


My father and I go for a walk
on the old derelict road
that dead-ends in the swamp
running from nowhere to nowhere -
two ruts almost erased
by scrub, bramble, and gutted cars.

He pushes aside the scrub trees with his cane.
I part the brambles following him.
We both look into the derelict cars,
the safety glass shattered into spiderwebs,
into crystal cataracts -
the cars lie blind in the green forest.

We talk, as old friends will do,
feeling themselves parting.
A rivulet crosses the road
spills into a hubcap
and out again onto the earth.

We sit on a wall beside the brook
where frogs' eggs shimmer in quiet eddies.
To each jelly bead
a pinhead of life,
and in each pellucid, tapioca bud
life circles
looking for a way out.

He says how much the road has changed.
The great elms are gone,
rotted or broken by storm.
He points out the stumps

with the ferrule of his cane,
points out the long bodies
rotting in the clean green,
angry at the new scrub
shooting up where the shadows are gone.

We walk back silent in birdsong.
I part the scrub for his cane
lend a hand over the long bodies
rotting in the green spring sun.





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