The English in Virginia, April 1607

By Charles Reznikoff 1894–1976 Charles Reznikoff
They landed and could
    see nothing but
    meadows and tall
cypress, nearly three
    fathoms about at the
rising straight for
    sixty or eighty feet
    without a branch.
In the woods were
    cedars, oaks, and
    walnut trees;
some beech, some elm,
    black walnut, ash,
    and sassafras; mul-
    berry trees in
honey-suckle and
    other vines hanging   
    in clusters on
    many trees.
They stepped on
    violets and other
    sweet flowers,
many kinds in many
    colors; straw-
    berries and rasp-
    berries were on
    the ground.
Blackbirds with red
    shoulders were
    flying about
and many small birds,
    some red, some blue;
the woods were full of deer;
and running
    fresh water—
    brooks, rundles,
    springs and creeks.
In the twilight,
    through the thickets
    and tall grass,
creeping upon all
    savages, their
    bows in their

NOTES: *Based upon the Works of Captain John Smith, edited by Edward Arber.

From The Poems of Charles Reznikoff by Charles Reznikoff, edited by Seamus Cooney. Reprinted by permission of Black Sparrow Books, an imprint of David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc. Copyright 2005 by Charles Reznikoff.

Source: Poems 1918-1975: The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff (Black Sparrow Press, 1977)

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Poet Charles Reznikoff 1894–1976

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Charles  Reznikoff


Emerson remarked that the best writers often have the shortest biographies. The genius “draws up the ladder after him,” and the world, which had consigned him to obscurity during his lifetime, “sees the works and asks in vain for a history.”
Whatever judgment may ultimately be passed upon him, not much more than his works is ever likely to be known of Charles Reznikoff. He left no fervent disciples. The record he wished to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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