By Jonathan Galassi b. 1949 Jonathan Galassi
Heartworn happiness, fine line that winds   
among the tapestry’s old blacks and blues,   
bright hair blazing in the theater,
red hair raving in the bar—as now
the little leaves shoot veils of gold
across the trees’ bones, shroud of spring,   
ghost of summer, shadblow snow, blood-
russet spoor spilled prodigal on last year’s leaves . . .   
When your yellows, greens, and yellow-greens,   
your ochres and your umbers have evolved   
nearly to hemlock blackness, cypress blackness,   
when the woods are rife with soddenness   
(unfolded ferns, skunk cabbage by the stream,   
barberry by the trunks, and bitter
watercress inside the druid pool)
will your thin, still-glinting thread insist   
to catch the eye in filigreed titrations
stitched along among beneath the branches,   
in the branches where it lives all winter,   
occulted fire, brief constant fleeting gold . . .

Jonathan Galassi, “Thread” from North Street and Other Poems (New York: HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Jonathan Galassi. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: North Street and Other Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2000 2001)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Jonathan Galassi b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Assonance

 Jonathan  Galassi


Jonathan Galassi is the author of two volumes of poetry, Morning Run (1998) and North Street (2000), and the novel Muse (2015). Galassi is also an eminent translator of Italian poetry. He has spent over 25 years studying Eugenio Montale’s poetry and has published several collections of Montale’s work, including Eugenio Montale: The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays (1982) and Collected Poems 1920–1954 (1998). Reviewing . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Assonance

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.