Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Which World

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

The poet Gary Lawless of Nobleboro often honors in his work the purity of the natural world that continues to exist around us, despite the corruption of our civilization. In today’s poem he follows a path that leads beyond destroyed totem poles in Sitka, Alaska, to a wild nature, calling us to join him.

Which World by Gary Lawless

There is a path
winding between Sitka spruce,
past totem poles stolen
from their island homes,
emptied of ashes and bones,
placed along the trail.
In the distance,
a volcano.
Raven flies
just above the surface of things, bald
eagle watching through
layers of air and water
for the fish
passing through,
shining in the cold
river like light
from another world,
everything moving, everything
moving to
come together, come together and
fall apart, again.
the water rushing.
the heart beating.
I am waiting for you
at the mouth of the river.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1998 by Gary Lawless. Reprinted from Caribouddhism, Blackberry Books, 1998, by permission of Gary Lawless. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.