By Gerald Stern b. 1925 Gerald Stern
He was cleaning leaves for one at a time
was what he needed and a minute before the two
brown poodles walked by he looked at the stripped-down trees
from one more point of view and thought they were
part of a system in which the dappled was foreign
for he had arrived at his own conclusion and that was
for him a relief even if he was separated,
even if  his hands were frozen,
even if the wind knocked him down,
even if his cat went into her helpless mode
inside the green and sheltering Japanese yew tree.

Source: Poetry (October 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2011
 Gerald  Stern


Gerald Stern has been called an “American original,” “a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic visionary,” and, by his friend Stanley Kunitz, “the wilderness in American poetry.” Over dozens of books, and decades of teaching and activism, Stern has emerged as one of America’s most celebrated and irascible poets. “If I could choose one poem of mine to explain my stance,” Stern told Contemporary Poets, “it would be ‘The One Thing in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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