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Date(s) - 01/18/2019 - 01/24/2019
All Day

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And finally, what a poet notices . . .

Choices

By Tess Gallagher

 

I go to the mountain side

of the house to cut saplings,

and clear a view to snow

on the mountain. But when I look up,

saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in

the uppermost branches.

I don’t cut that one.

I don’t cut the others either.

Suddenly, in every tree,

an unseen nest

where a mountain

would be.

 

Poet, essayist, and short story writer Tess Gallagher was born in 1943 in Port Angeles, Washington, to a logging family. Her early years were marked by the rhythms of seasonal work, as well as the landscape of both the Northwest and the Ozarks, where her grandparents lived. “I don’t know how many children really get to explore vast amounts of territory like that,” she has said in interviews. “It builds something in you.” Poet Stanley Kunitz once described Gallagher as “outstanding among her contemporaries in the naturalness of her inflection, the fine excess of her spirit, and the energy of her dramatic imagination.”