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American Life in Poetry

Here’s a fine poem by Heather Allen, a Connecticut poet who pays close attention to what’s right under her feet. It may seem ordinary, but it isn’t.


So still at heart,

They respond like water

To the slightest breeze,

Rippling as one body,

And, as one mind,

Bend continually

To listen:

The perfect confidants,

They keep to themselves,

A web of trails and nests,

Burrows and hidden entrances –

Do not reveal

Those camouflaged in stillness

From the circling hawks,

Or crouched and breathless

At the passing of the fox.

Poem copyright 1996 by Heather Allen from “Leaving a Shadow” (1996, Copper Canyon Press) and reprinted by permission of the publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.