Northwest Schools of Literature: Texts

3. David Wagoner, "Found"

David Wagoner, The House of Song, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 2002.

All day, the woods have dwindled. The once almost
impenetrable canopy has thinned
And broken, and now as the light grows,
You suddenly come out into the open,
Blinking and hesitant,
And find all of these people running toward you
Clamoring at what you imagine must be
The sight of a lifetime: your sore eyes
And even sorer body. They pound your back.
They’re rejoicing more than you yourself
In your mere existence. They seem to believe
They’ve rescued you from something.
They all feel wonderful, wonderful. They’re all
Immensely relieved. They can hardly
Contain themselves. They want to wrap you up
And feed you. They want you to be warm
And for goodness’ sake to calm down.
They want to feel your pulse
With the ends of their cold fingers. They caress
Your temples. They pry open
Your lips and blow their breath into your mouth.
They want to know what you want. They want to know
How you are. Like overpolite officials
In a dream of a receiving line, over
And over they ask, How are you?
As if they’d already forgotten
What you said only a moment ago.
They want to know how it was, how you survived
The hazardous waste of time, the unknown
Dangers and glories of being
Lost in the woods, which you remember dimly
As long ago and far away in another
Part of a forest
Now lost to you forever. And some are asking
What year it is, as if you alone
Were keeping track. They ask when you were born
As if that’s what you’d wanted to find out.
You gaze around at a whole blue sky
Careening with light where birds
Soar overhead and where you can see,
Not just your hand in shadows, but clear miles
Where gods stay at a distance, where nearly nothing
Is in the way of the next step you take
But your desire and the free will
Of your feet. But these people
Clustered near you, offering everything
They can think of, from wildflowers
To love, are holding you.

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