Childhood’s Retreat By Robert Duncan

It’s in the perilous boughs of the tree   
out of blue sky    the wind   
sings loudest surrounding me.

And solitude,   a wild solitude
’s reveald,   fearfully,   high     I’d climb   
into the shaking uncertainties,

part out of longing,   part     daring my self,
part to see that
widening of the world,   part

to find my own, my secret
hiding sense and place, where from afar   
all voices and scenes come back

—the barking of a dog,   autumnal burnings,
far calls,   close calls—   the boy I was
calls out to me
here the man where I am   “Look!

I’ve been where you

most fear to be.”
Robert Duncan, “Childhood’s Retreat” from Ground Work: Before the War. Copyright © 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1984 by Robert Duncan. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Ground Work: Before the War (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1984)

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