This week’s poem is about a certain kind of music one hears in the woods sometimes, and the poet gives his lines the feel of that same sad, end-of-day music. In this way, we can hear it too, if we listen closely.

Douglas “Woody” Woodsum lives and teaches in rural Maine, and his poems have been published in many journals and magazines including Denver Quarterly, New England Review and the Beloit Poetry Journal.

The Sadness a Recluse Lets Pass

By Douglas “Woody” Woodsum

Something suggestive of arpeggios

rings through the sunset woods, the long-limbed trees.

Something up high, where none or few do live,

sings of lives and love in limbo, the myths

enacted on the thresholds between night

and day, between the living and the dead.

Something is suggesting a glissando,

notes rising or falling or doing both

in the high-hill woods where shadows belie

the sunlit crowns of the trees at dusk.

Deer rouse and stretch as birds take to their nests,

and the small brown singer keeps to himself.

The hermit thrush suggests evensong, not

hymns, vespers, or religiosity

but something plain as bark darkening, shade

cooling. The sadness at day’s end drifts past

like gossamer or a feather in the breeze.

He sees this as he sings and lets it pass.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. This column is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Doug Woodsum. It appears here by permission of the author.

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