From a Bridge

By David St. John b. 1949 David St. John
I saw my mother standing there below me
On the narrow bank just looking out over the river

Looking at something just beyond the taut middle rope
Of the braided swirling currents

Then she looked up quite suddenly to the far bank
Where the densely twined limbs of the cypress

Twisted violently toward the storm-struck sky
There are some things we know before we know

Also some things we wish we would not ever know
Even if as children we already knew      & so

Standing above her on that bridge that shuddered
Each time the river ripped at its wooden pilings

I knew I could never even fate willing ever
Get to her in time


Poem copyright ©2011 by David St. John, whose new collection, The Auroras, is forthcoming from Harper Collins. Poem reprinted from Poetry, July/August 2011, by permission of David St. John and the publisher.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2011
 David  St. John

Biography

David St. John has been honored, over the course of his career, with many of the most significant prizes for poets, including both the Rome Fellowship and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the O.B. Hardison Prize for teaching and poetic achievement from the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the George Drury Smith Lifetime Achievement Award from Beyond Baroque. He is the author of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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