What’s wrong with me if I feel kinship

with the humble grace of its bark-brown shape?


Extended across the litter of leaves

compacted by careless human feet,

insouciant to danger, it did not move,

even as my heavy steps approached.


True, when I touch it, it shrinks in

upon itself like some cinema heroine

examined by a fascinated ape.


But it still remains faithful to itself

to stay or go at its own speed,

unruled by those modern ideas

of useful time and knowing one’s place.


And so, knowing something myself

of another vision, before their clocks came

I say, “My relative, let me help your journey.”


And then, undisturbed by the way

its life sticks to my fingers I lift it,

place it off their trail, among the debris.


In such places we may go unseen

by those whose hurrying feet are eager

to take them anywhere but here.

Joseph Bruchac PDFs:

Selected Poems and Writing

Joseph Bruchac has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies and music for over 30 years.  His work is a reflection of his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults. The best selling Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children and others of his “Keepers” series, with its remarkable integration of science and folklore, continue to receive critical acclaim and to be used in classrooms throughout the country.