“Lost,” a poem by David Wagoner

P1050320I came across this poem misattributed to another David in a book I’m reading (a book I otherwise love). So I looked it up and found it on the web with typos, mistitled, etc. But it also appears (correctly) on Best American Poetry.

The whole process made me reflect on how mistakes can add emphasis in our lives, reminding us of where we are, and what our assignment is. The whole point is to stand still and pay attention. Take a deep breath. Look. Listen. Remember to breathe.


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

— David Wagoner

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