Issue > Poetry
Glenn Freeman

Glenn Freeman

Glenn Freeman has published two collections, Keeping the Tigers Behind Us and Traveling Light. He lives with his wife and two cats in small-town Iowa, where he teaches writing and American literature and watches the tomatoes grow.

I'm Thinking Two Versions of a Sonnet in Dialogue with Gerald Stern's "I Remember Galileo"


I.

I'm thinking about Gerald Stern's notion
that the mind is like a squirrel crossing
the highway, something about faith, about not stopping,
about fear grinding down our life. I'm in the garden
pulling the knots of long tangled roots
that have taken over the bed, and I'm thinking
the mind is like weeds, relentless. O, endless digging,
endless compost, endless substitutes
for what I'm trying to say. My student
says she thought that Stern had died. I'm thinking
the mind is like mycelium, dark tangles fruiting
after rain. The mind is not fluent
in its own language, its own capacity
to describe itself. Nothing happens organically.


II.

I'm thinking about Gerald Stern's notion that the mind is like
a squirrel weaving across the highway.
Galileo thought it like paper, say,
dancing in the wind, but Stern's turnpike
of the mind has a rodent caught crossing
beneath a semi, split seconds to survive,
breaking free into the open, to live
beyond such fear. But here I am thinking
about the mind as mycelium threading
its silent way below the surface,
clotting the soil with possibilities, wordless,
dark, fruiting after rain, the mushroom's persistent spreading.
Or I'm thinking maybe the mind is most like Gerald Stern.
One way or another, it will make itself heard.

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