by Russell Rowland
To the diffident little boy who is my soul:
white birches hold out their limbs to you,
black flies can hardly wait—it’s all good—
go. Put on your worldly shoes. Go out.
Wear a T-shirt that tells folks who you are.
You like girls, but don’t choose to be a man
in a pickup truck with a gunrack. It’s okay,
there is room for you, so go out and play.
Stroke that Golden Retriever who knocked
you flat last time, out of doggy enthusiasm
to see you, and general joie de vivre. He is
still learning how to be likeable. Help him.
Go out there. The wide horizon wants you
at its center. The White-Throated Sparrow
is anxious to share its loneliness with a boy
who understands what it is singing about.
Play where tall white pines amble downhill
to the river they love to watch move along.
Join them in looking one way and the other:
many a lesson there if you’re open to them.
Taste the sky, then come inside and tell me
what blue tastes like. I’ve eaten too much
earth and stone in my day. A regimen of it.
I’ve waited years to hear how the sky tastes.
Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.