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By Ed Roberson

i must be careful about such things as these.

the thin-grained oak.    the quiet grizzlies scared

into the hills by the constant tracks squeezing

in behind them closer in the snow.    the snared

rigidity of the winter lake.    deer after deer

crossing on the spines of fish who look up and stare

with their eyes pressed to the ice.   in a sleep.  hearing

the thin taps leading away to collapse like the bear

in the high quiet.   i must be careful not to shake

anything in too wild an elation.    not to jar

the fragile mountains against the paper far-

ness.   nor avalanche the fog or the eagle from the air.

of the gentle wilderness i must set the precarious

words.   like rocks.   without one snowcapped mistake.


Ed Roberson, "be careful" from Just In: Word of Navigational Challenges: New and Selected Works. Copyright © 1998 by Ed Roberson. Reprinted by permission of Ed Roberson.

Source: Just In: Word of Navigational Challenges (Talisman House, 1998)

  • Activities
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Ed Roberson
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Ed Roberson studied painting in his youth and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh. His extensive travels inform his work, which is also influenced by spirituals and the blues, and by visual art, such as the mixed-media collages of Romare Bearden. Roberson lives in Chicago, where he has taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and Northwestern University. See More By This Poet

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