A Poem From The Year


“Tinsel” by Robin Robertson:

Tune to the frequency of the wood and you’ll hear
the deer, breathing; a muscle, tensing; the sigh
of a fieldmouse under an owl. Now

listen to yourself—that friction—the push-and-drag,
the double pulse, the drum. You can hear it, clearly.
You can hear the sound of your body, breaking down.

If you’re very quiet, you might pick up loss: or rather
the thin noise that losing makes—perdition.
If you’re absolutely silent

and still, you can hear nothing
but the sound of nothing: this voice
and its wasting, the soul’s tinsel. Listen . . . Listen . . .

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(From Sailing the Forest: Selected Poems by Robin Robertson © 2014 Robin Robertson. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Photo by Andrey Solovev)