Undercurrent

If I whisper the names of the birds
to my daughter, who, in the course
of things, will no doubt learn to speak

them, it isn’t because of Adam.
Why should she hear the names
over their songs

which she is taking in now, all ears
(though fighting sleep, her eyes keep closing).
No, it’s because we’ve followed

an old streambed to get here.
So many currents pour into it
that, when she dreams, she will be carried

by them, among them,
mine, the human voice, full
of wood thrush white throat wax wing. 

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The winning volume in the 1992 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Stone Crop, by Jody Gladding. As James Dickey, distinguished poet and judge of the competition, has said, “Skiing, swimming, hiking, collecting, bringing items found in the woods and creeks and making them part of her living-space are all functions of Jody Gladding’s interpenetration with the world, fascinating, rare, and desirable. She can go deep, and with a naturalness that requires no effort. She is after basics, underlyings, for she knows that not only beneath the jutting or smooth stonecrop but under even the lightest things, the feathers and ferns, the wild eggshells—some of them come to rest between house-plants on her windowsill—is a more profound reality, immovable and living.”

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