Poem: Nature by Tony Hoagland
Published: 24 July 2018
Poems that inspire The Sharpham Trust and its people.
Nature, by contemporary US poet Tony Hoagland, about a man's wistfulness for his first true love.
I miss the friendship with the pine tree and the birds
that I had when I was ten.
And it has been forever since I pushed my head
under the wild silk skirt of the waterfall.
What I had with them was tender and private.
The lake was practically my girlfriend.
I carried her picture in my front shirt pocket.
Even in my sleep, I heard the sound of water.
The big rock on the shore was the skull of a dead king
whose name we could almost remember.
Under the rooty bank you could dimly see
the bunk beds of the turtles.
Maybe twice had I said a girl's name to myself.
I had not yet had my weird first dream of money.
Nobody I know mentions these things anymore.
It's as if their memories have been seized, erased, and relocated among flowcharts and complex dinner-party calendars.
Now I want to turn and run back the other way,
barefoot into the underbrush,
getting raked by thorns, being slapped in the face by branches.
Down to the muddy bed of the little stream
where my cupped hands make a house, and
I tilt up the roof
to look at the face of the frog.