By R. T. Smith b. 1947
Because someone thirsty enough
to trust Old Testament wisdom
followed the deepening greens

and found a spring, silver
in the shadow of blue ridges,
I can kneel beneath

this spill of willow
limbs a century later
and drink water

risen from roots
to enter the evening
through a spout, the way

Cherokee stories say the first
people were born,
washing into the world

of such trees whose bark,
like the water I cup
to my parched mouth,

tastes leafy and sweet
and has the power,
the old ones say, to heal.

Source: Poetry (May 2001).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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May 2001
 R. T. Smith


Poet R.T. (Rod) Smith was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Georgia and North Carolina. He earned a BA in philosophy from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an MA in English from Appalachian State University. His collections of poetry include From the High Dive (1983), The Cardinal Heart (1991), Hunter-Gatherer (1996), Trespasser: Poems (1996), Split the Lark: Selected Poems (1999), Messenger (2001), Brightwood . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Mythology & Folklore, Activities, Travels & Journeys

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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