Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SCAVENGING THE WALL, by RODNEY THEODORE SMITH



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SCAVENGING THE WALL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When fall brought the graders to atlas road
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, R. T.


When fall brought the graders to Atlas Road,
I drove through gray dust thick as a battle
and saw the ditch freshly scattered with gravel.

Leveling, shaving on the bevel, the blade
and fanged scraper had summoned sleepers-
limestone loaves and blue slate, skulls of quartz

not even early freeze had roused. Some rocks
were large as buckets, others just a scone
tumbled up and into light the first time

in ages. Loose, sharp, they were a hazard
to anyone passing. So I gathered
what I could, scooped them into the bed

and trucked my freight away under birdsong
in my own life's autumn. I was eager
to add to the snaggled wall bordering

my single acre, to be safe, to be still
and watch the planet's purposeful turning
behind a cairn of roughly balanced stones.

Uprooted, scarred, weather-gray of bones,
I love their old smell, the familiar unknown.
To be sure this time I know where I belong

I have brought, at last, the vagrant road home.


Copyright 2000 by The Modern Poetry Association.
This poem appears in the December 2000 issue of Poetry Magazine.
http://www.poetrymagazine.ord






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