Progress Report 50 Years after Reading Black Elk by William Prindle

William Prindle has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2022 Poetry Contest

Progress Report 50 Years after Reading Black Elk

Last night in the silences between barred owl calls
I thought I heard some people passing by the pond.

Might have been plangent minor chords of bullfrog
and fowler’s toad sounding a bit like human voices,

but I picked up hints of Cherokee heading west, or
was it Monacan disappearing into the high coves?

I thought I heard bluegill or maybe perch rising to
The surface to feed, but maybe it was only the sound

of four hundred years of weeping. There were no
tracks this morning, but winter is coming so today

I left out on the trail leading west from the ridge
line where you can see the mountains some small

packets of poems written on lichen, wrapped in
braided sweetgrass, laid out on the oldest stones.

Large stone outcrop surrounded by trees
Stone on the Trail by Irisgazer. CC license.

William Prindle
William Prindle is a Charlottesville poet who has received awards from the Poetry Society of Viriginia and Streetlight Magazine, and been published in the Tupelo Press 30/30 Anthology and the Written River and Pennysylvania Review. He has studied with Gregory Orr, Annie Kim, Jeffrey Levine, Sharon Olds, Robert Bly, and C. K. Williams.

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