66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life


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More by Tracy K. Smith

The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it ran from their long hair,. The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,. They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bend- ing arch,. The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife at the stall in the market,. Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire.

The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,. Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,. The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags underneath on its tied-over chain,. The negro that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and tall he stands pois'd on one leg on the string-piece,.

His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,. His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,. The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish'd and perfect limbs. I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there,. In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,.


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To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object miss- ing,. Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes? My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble,.

Life of a Poet

And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else,. And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills pretty well to me,.

Very Sad Poetry

Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,. The sharp-hoof'd moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the chickadee, the prairie-dog,. Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,. The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,. The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanks- giving dinner,.

The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,. The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,.

Wendy Bourke

The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,. He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother's bed-room;. He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manu- script;. The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,.

The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,. The young fellow drives the express-wagon, I love him, though I do not know him;. The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs,.

Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece;. As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle,. The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their part- ners, the dancers bow to each other,. The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof'd garret and harks to the musical rain,.

The squaw wrapt in her yellow-hemm'd cloth is offering moccasins and bead-bags for sale,. The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways,. As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers,. The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots,.

Trojan Poetry 66: "From a Window" by Christian Wiman

The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,. The clean-hair'd Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine or in the factory or mill,. The paving-man leans on his two-handed rammer, the reporter's lead flies swiftly over the note-book, the sign-painter is lettering with blue and gold,. The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,.

The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him,. The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,.

Ode to the west wind

The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, how the white sails sparkle! The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray,.

The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, the purchaser hig- gling about the odd cent;. The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute-hand of the clock moves slowly,. The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her tipsy and pimpled neck,. The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and wink to each other,. The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries,. On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms,. The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,.

The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle,. As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change,. The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar,. Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gather'd, it is the fourth of Seventh-month, what salutes of cannon and small arms!

Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows, and the winter-grain falls in the ground;. Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface,. The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep with his axe,. Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees,. Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through those drain'd by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,.

Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,. Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grand- sons around them,. In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after their day's sport,. The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;. Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is fine,.

One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,.

Age of sita when she died

A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,. A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth,.

A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian,. A boatman overlakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;. At home on Kanadian snow-shoes or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland,. At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tack- ing,. At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch,.

66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life
66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life 66 LEAVES: Poems From My Tree of Life

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