Benjamin Myers

The Elements of Poetry 

                    for the students in my “intro. to lit.”

There was a low, pale sun and a white horse
seen through the line of trees.  A stone, a creek
around the stone, thin sky above the course
of the stony creek.  Then the need to speak 

rose up my throat like shoots of winter wheat
through the long frost of my silence. A word –
though not the stone, the horse, or the cold creek,
and not at all the sky or the light bird 

in its dream of flight above the stony creek –
only a word and tired and grown old
but still the only sound here I can speak. 

What is of the elements can be told
only in the signs of red earth and pine,
the elemental marks the priests hold 

like the prairie holds the stone deep within
its heart and reveals it only to the wind.