When the sun came up over the mountain | at precisely 6:19 a.m., I saw | inside the window pane the concentric circles | of a web it took all night to spin | First, amazement – and then the poison | of comparison: What do I build | that is so intricate, that requires so much | undivided attention? Surely not these words | scrawled in a spiral-bound notebook | and maybe for my eyes only. | Perhaps relationships, love, the quiche I made | for supper last night. All things | which fade or end or must be consumed. | I came back to the table hours later | and found the web gone, folded up like a tent. | It is not lost on me that this life | I’m now making, far from any life I’ve known | could be the intricate thing I’m seeking, | the interlocking rings of which | will touch others, joy always threading | itself to joy. Today, I’ll walk | these undriven gravel roads until I can | go no further. I’ll stop and feast | on tiny black raspberries and listen | to frogs leaping back into the shaded puddle | that never evaporates. I’ll watch | where I step so I don’t crush the bright | orange newts who sun on stones | in the middle of the road, each one | a monk, a model of stillness and quiet. | Slowness will seep into my hurried bones, | and I’ll rest on the banks of the pond, | my mind at last like the head | of the snapping turtle breaking the surface | now and then for air, sending | ripple after ripple back to the shore | where my only question will be | whether or not to leap in | and add my own ripples to his.
James Crew’s first collection of poetry, ‘The Book of What Stays,’ won the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His work has appeared in numerous journals. He lives on an organic farm in Shaftsbury with his partner.