Stone Canyon Nocturne

By Charles Wright b. 1935 Charles Wright
Ancient of Days, old friend, no one believes you’ll come back.   
No one believes in his own life anymore.

The moon, like a dead heart, cold and unstartable, hangs by a thread
At the earth’s edge,
Unfaithful at last, splotching the ferns and the pink shrubs.

In the other world, children undo the knots in their tally strings.   
They sing songs, and their fingers blear.

And here, where the swan hums in his socket, where bloodroot   
And belladonna insist on our comforting,
Where the fox in the canyon wall empties our hands, ecstatic for more,

Like a bead of clear oil the Healer revolves through the night wind,
Part eye, part tear, unwilling to recognize us.

Charles Wright, “Stone Canyon Nocturne” from Country Music: Selected Early Poems. Copyright © 1982 by Charles Wright. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press, www.wesleyan.edu/wespress.

Source: Country Music: Selected Early Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1982)

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Poet Charles Wright b. 1935

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Charles  Wright

Biography

Charles Wright is often ranked as one of the best American poets of his generation. Born in 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, Wright attended Davidson College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; he also served four years in the U.S. Army, and it was while stationed in Italy that Wright began to read and write poetry. His early work, including The Grave of the Right Hand (1970), received positive critical attention, but his reputation . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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