Beyond the Red River

By Thomas McGrath 1916–1990 Thomas McGrath
The birds have flown their summer skies to the south,
And the flower-money is drying in the banks of bent grass
Which the bumble bee has abandoned. We wait for a winter lion,
Body of ice-crystals and sombrero of dead leaves.

A month ago, from the salt engines of the sea,
A machinery of early storms rolled toward the holiday houses
Where summer still dozed in the pool-side chairs, sipping
An aging whiskey of distances and departures.

Now the long freight of autumn goes smoking out of the land.
My possibles are all packed up, but still I do not leave.
I am happy enough here, where Dakota drifts wild in the universe,
Where the prairie is starting to shake in the surf of the winter dark.

Thomas McGrath, “Beyond the Red River” from Selected Poems 1938-1988. Copyright � 1988 by Thomas McGrath. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Selected Poems 1938-1988 (1988)

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Poet Thomas McGrath 1916–1990

Subjects Fall, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

 Thomas  McGrath

Biography

For some fifty years, the late Thomas McGrath produced a prolific array of titles, encompassing poetry, novels, books for children, and several documentary film scripts, including uncredited work on the eloquent and exhilarating Smithsonian film about the history of flight, To Fly. But McGrath is primarily a poet, and although "important contemporary poets . . . proclaim him as a major voice in American poetry in the last three . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Fall, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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