Fugue for Old Growth
Andrew C. Gottlieb
The forest is never silent. Each rock
waits its turn. The river misleads:
impatience is rare. In the valley,
empty but for pine and fir slicing
upward, fog dictates depth of vision.
Everywhere: ghosts of black-tailed
deer. The valley is miles long, empty
and never silent. The river deceives
even the rockiest cedars. Every step,
already gone, like fog, water,
a deceptive impatience in the long
valley. The forest never mourns
what falls. Walk the valley forever:
there’s fog and rot, a limited vision,
and all that’s seen is ghosts and deer
somewhere else. Silence is a myth.
Each dripping limb helps steer
the river under every calmest rock.
The valley, long and empty,
never silent. Walk: forever
is a myth. What’s fallen rots alongside
ghosts and fog. Empty is deceptive:
the forest is never empty, and myths
are patient in their mourning
as tumbling mud from rocky roots
joins every rushing thing. Deer
are shadows, ghosting in their foggy
patience, deceptive in the slicing
pines. What’s fallen: is a myth.
Depth of vision in the valley
is a question that’s deceiving.
Long and empty, patience steers
its rushing miles along the forest’s
foggy rock. Everywhere: the steps
of ghosts, the forever myth
of vision, black-tailed deer.
Somewhere: the drop of rock,
the silent rush, the crash of rot.
The myths are long and empty.
The forest is never silent.
About the Writer
Andrew C. Gottlieb lives and writes in Irvine, California and is the Reviews Editor for the journal Terrain.org. His work has appeared in many journals including the American Literary Review, Best New Poets 2013, Beloit Fiction Journal, Ecotone, ISLE, Provincetown Arts, Poets & Writers and Salon.com. His chapbook of poems, Halflives, was published in 2005 by New Michigan Press, and he was writer-in-residence most recently at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon. Find him at: www.andrewcgottlieb.com.