Monday, May 22, 2023




During the Plum Blossom Monsoon

in the mountains

of southern China,

you just start throwing

more and more stuff

away, more and more,

and pretty soon

you're at Walden Pond.


It seems colder than it is outside. I

should go look at the moon ripening

in a thicket of stars, but I wanted

to talk a little of creek water,

how the stones in the shallow bed

up Canyon Creek are as round and vivid

as the eyes of deer . . .

No, I meant rather to speak of the stillness

under moss-laden old growth:

bark on one fir so thick

seeds take root in it and soar,

"thinking" as a young tree thinks,

it's the earth.

No, that's not it exactly. I believe

it was simpler, not even the surprise of so many waterfalls

nor the chattering companionship of squirrels

and the stellar jay,

as I stumbled through brush,

worked through devil's club,

jumped skipped from rock to rock.

I think it was when I was

standing under those ancient trees,

wringing out the bottoms of my jeans,

beginning to think some thought

that had come with me from town,

growing a little melancholy in the shade,

that I looked down from the green bank

and could see    yes    the creek,

the creek in the sunlight,

and it was just the creek in the sunlight,

and it made me happy that it made me happy.


Mike O'Connor

Old Growth

New & Selected Poems

foreword by Red Pine

Empty Bowl, 2023