Days of 1975

by Edward Hirsch

It started with the tattered blue secret

of Bashō, that windswept spirit,

riding my back pocket for luck.

It started with a walk

through the woods at dawn,

mud on my new shoes,

high humming in the trees.

I was not prepared for the scent

of freshly turned soil

to pervade the empty classroom

or the morning to commence

with a bell that did not stop

ringing in my head.

So many expectations filed

noisily into the room—

I was ready to begin.

From the tall windows

I could see a storefront church

opening on the other side

of the polluted river.

I remember walking past the rows

and rows of bent heads,

scarred desks,

and gazing up

at the Endless Mountains.

In those hopeful days of 1975

I drove the country roads

in honor of radiance.

O spirit of poetry,

souls of those I have loved,

come back to teach me again.



From The American Poetry Review 47:5, September/October 2018. See commentary by Ken Craft.