One Brother Said to the Other, "Let's Go Into the Fields"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Oct. 9 1996 3:30 AM

One Brother Said to the Other, "Let's Go Into the Fields"

To hear the poet reading this poem, click here or on the title.

Beyond the old barn
a small stream ran all those winter days,
and beyond the stream almost nothing grew
except weeds, poke grass, burdock, scatterings
of hemp plants left from years back. If you
stood still and let the pale sunlight descend
around you and said nothing, you'd catch
the echo of human voices, but better not
to hear what was said. Better to walk
beyond the sagging fences and keep going
until there was no where to go, for the birds
circling above were not there for you.
In the low trees at the edge of the woods
you might find abandoned nests, their eggs
slashed open. Reach in and touch the twigs
bundled into a gray basket of hopes.
Now let your hand wander the crusted leaves
while the west wind, rising at last, brings
what we are here for: the same blood smell.

Philip Levine's last book of poems, The Simple Truth, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

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