Reverse (Billy Collins Directions) 7/25
Piercing the ground with your stick
heading up toward the hill
into the crowd of maple and ash
to the house, until you disappear
I will watch after you and not turn back
with one hand on your shoulder
I will walk with you as far as the garden.
Come knock on my door.
Let me know before you set out.
Taking the vast outside into ourselves
where we stand in the tremble of thought.
Passing over the hills and the ground
through a meadow and the shadow of clouds,
greener than ever, spring water flowing.
The entities that continue to return
will soon be gone. Rregard
its breast made of humus and brambles,
how the earth holds us painfully
and begin to recite their stories,
how the voices of light enter the body.
It is hard to speak of these things.
Driving overhead toward some destination
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese
and if this is your day, you might even
fall a cone through the trees.
A sprig of birdsong or leafy
things and you will hear nothing.
Breaking into the shapes and tones
the light pouring down into the woods
to sit on, you will be able to see.
And, when you find an agreeable rock
the columns of trees, you are hiking up.
When the sun strobes through.
The best time for this is late afternoon.
A good enough place to stop.
Which is as high as you can go.
Ridge with a border of pine trees,
you will eventually come to a long stone.
When the going gets steep, you
might have to grab on a sapling
and if you go beyond there you arrive at
the small footbridge with the broken railing
and farther on, you know…
Against the light-brown fallen leaves
and a grove of tall hemlocks, dark green now.
Down, during the horrors of the Ice Age,
to a heap of rocks.
Walk into the woods, you come
and you know how if you leave the path
where all the yellow primroses are
the ones that bend around the far end of the garden
the ones you see from the kitchen window.
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