Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Poems by Tom Montag


We have a river
and the sound of water
over the dam.

We have the railroad
and the roar of a train
heading west.

The river flows and keeps
flowing. It is never
the same river twice.

The train comes back
in the evening and
all the stars come out.


The grasses all move with one smooth motion.
Is it the wind which moves them, or is it

the same force which turns all the small dark birds
this way and that in an ocean of sky?

Something greater than this moment alone
in the early evening, the wind lifting,

the sun laying itself down for the night,
the light showing the eachness of each thing.

The stillness. What smooths the grasses. What turns
the birds. What charms this moment, makes us take

notice. What sings the high notes while the earth
hums deeply. The day comes to this whether

we know it or not, poised between light and
darkness, motion and stillness, wind and

silence. This moment between what we hope
and what we have, when holiness rises

from the grasses, lifting us to heaven.




Tom Montag is most recently the author of  In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, as well as Middle Ground, Curlew: Home, Kissing Poetry’s Sister, The Idea of the Local, and The Big Book of Ben Zen. Recent poems will be found in The Broken City, The Chaffin Journal, Digital Papercut, Foliate Oak, Hamilton Stone Review, Hummingbird, The Magnolia Review, Mud Season Review, On the Rusk, Plainsong, Riding Light Review, Split Rock, and Stoneboat. He blogs as The Middlewesterner and serves as Managing Editor of the Lorine Niedecker Monograph Series, What Region?



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