February 2009

Stephen Knauth


Stephen Knauth is the author of The River I Know You By (Four Way Books, 1999) and several other collections of poetry. His work has appeared in North American Review, Seneca Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Daily, and the anthology Southern Appalachian Poetry. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.

The Cricket at the Center of the World    

Crossing Buford's field, late September,  
ryegrass, pigweed, lamb's quarters, sumac.
Somber palette at the end of an age.

Stopping to tie a shoelace—listen.
A steady whirr, fragile secret center of things
from which creation itself seems to arise.

Listening, looking east.
There's the yellow path that leads to the sea.
There's the barn and the water tower and the town.

From limb to limb a bluebird goes
too fast to follow—until it's swallowed by softwoods.
It's erratic path is a necessary

half-sprung spring in the grand mechanism.
We say leaves fall and they do.
We say time heals and mean our slow forgetting.

Pigweed, sumac. Stand and listen.
Not speaking, not moving. Yet wanting,
like a child, to stop the world with a footstep.



Stephen Knauth: Poetry
Copyright ©2009 The Cortland Review Issue 42The Cortland Review