Pilgrim’s Progress
by Charles Wright

copyright © 2006 by Charles Wright

At the start, it goes like this –
One’s childhood has a tremendous shape,
                                                                                 and moves like a wild animal
Through the deadfall and understory.
It’s endlessly beautiful,
                                               elusive and on to something.
It hides out, but never disappears.

Later, the sacred places Delphi and Italy on us,
Flicking and flashing through the forest,
                                                                             half-seen, half-remembered.
And with them the woods itself,
Each tree, each interlude of marsh grass and beaver shade
Something to tug the sleeve with.

In the end, of course, one’s a small dog
At night on the front porch,
                                                      barking into the darkness
At what he can’t see, but smells, somehow, and is suspicious of.
Barking, poor thing, and barking,
With no one at home to call him in,
                                                                        with no one to turn the light on.