Stirring : A Literary Collection

Walt McDonald


I'm lazy today on the deck swing
before dawn, coffee mug full,
too hot to lift.  Binoculars
hang like a rock, neck bowed
like the old man I am, nodding off.  

My wife will be up soon.  
I glance at mountains and squint,
a million pines.  I don't feel fifty,
certainly not absurdly old.  
I believe in what's out there,

hawks in the first gray dawn.  
I think I'm thirty, twenty-four,
the dumb young man I was.  
Gloves on, I can't see my fists,
knuckles scarred and age spots,

my father's hands, splotches
of all those breaths let out
for decades and taken back, the way
night took Montana's dazzle
and now, so fast I'm stunned,

here comes the sun.  Soon,
I'll hear the door, her steps
on the deck shuffling close.  
I'll turn and touch her hair,
her bushel of blonde

shock white.  I'll rise
and wrap a blanket around her,
and we'll sip coffee
and rock, not even talking,
watching hawks glide by.  

Walt McDonald
Photo by: Arte Limmer
Date of Birth: July 18
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Publications: American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, Poetry, etc.
Books: Eighteen collections of poems and a book of fiction, including All Occasions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), Blessings the Body Gave (Ohio State, 1998), Counting Survivors (Pittsburgh, 1995), Night Landings (Harper & Row, 1989), and After the Noise of Saigon (Massachusetts, 1988)
Awards: Texas Poet Laureate for 2001; the Juniper Prize (University of Massachusetts Press); George Elliston Poetry Prize for The Flying Dutchman (Ohio State University Press and University of Cincinnati); four Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; six awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, including the Lon Tinkle Memorial Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career; two NEA fellowships

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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