Fall 2014 • Vol. XXXVI No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 2014 |

A Greeting on the Trail

Turning fifty, at last I come to understand, belatedly, unexpectedly, and quite suddenly, that poetry is not going to save anybody's life, least of all my own. Nonetheless I choose to believe the journey is not a descent but a climb, as when, in a forest of golden-green morning sunlight, one sees another hiker on the trail, who calls out, where are you bound, friend, to the valley or the mountaintop? Many things—seaweed, pollen, attention—drift. News of the universe's origin infiltrates atom by atom the oxygenated envelope of the atmosphere. My sense of purpose vectors away on rash currents like the buoys I find tossed on the beach after a storm, cork bobbers torn from old crab traps. And what befalls the woebegotten crabs, caged and forgotten at the bottom of the sea? Are the labors to which we are summoned by dreams so different from the tasks to which the sunlight of reality enslaves us? One tires of niceties. We sleep now surrounded by books, books piled in heaps by the beds

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Campbell McGrath is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (Ecco Press, 2012). A resident of Miami, he teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University.

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September 11

By Campbell McGrath

Turning fifty, at last I come to understand, belatedly, unexpectedly, and quite suddenly, that poetry is not going to save anybody's life, least of all my own. Nonetheless I choose […]

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