The Roots of a Poem

The Roots of a Poem

The opening poem in my collection “Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves,” has its roots with William Wordsworth Spots in Time section of the Prelude:

From The Prelude Book Twelfth
William Wordsworth

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence–depressed                            
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse–our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.
This efficacious spirit chiefly lurks
Among those passages of life that give                             
Profoundest knowledge to what point, and how,
The mind is lord and master–outward sense
The obedient servant of her will. Such moments
Are scattered everywhere, taking their date
From our first childhood. I remember well,
That once, while yet my inexperienced hand
Could scarcely hold a bridle, with proud hopes
I mounted, and we journeyed towards the hills:
An ancient servant of my father’s house
Was with me, my encourager and guide:                               
We had not travelled long, ere some mischance
Disjoined me from my comrade; and, through fear
Dismounting, down the rough and stony moor
I led my horse, and, stumbling on, at length
Came to a bottom, where in former times
A murderer had been hung in iron chains.
  The Songs Between

David Anthony Sam
There are certain places, certain times
when the soul flies freely
and feels one with the wind,
and one with the land,
and one with the lives around it.
I have been graced with such places,
such moments. They have demanded
with need that I voice them
and allowed my voice to fulfill them.
A Wyoming prairie sings to me.
A cold lake in Oregon
made fresh from old winter snow dying.
A lakeshore where waves clap,
or an ocean of sand beside
an ocean of sea and mist.
A small room with her face.
A park with their laughter.
A mountainside made blue to me by distance,
and a wide river valley between
full of green, a gray slab of road,
and the brown winding river.
There are such places, such times
that make me think if death were this–
this open disappearing into life–
death would be a fine thing.
Instead I live between such places
and such moments waiting only.
And the song finds me when I am ready.

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