American Life in Poetry
The Poetry Foundation

Library of Congress

University of Nebraska
at Lincoln

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American Life in Poetry: Column 353


Anne Coray is an Alaskan, and in this beautiful meditation on the stillness of nature she shows us how closely she’s studied something that others might simply step over.

The Art of Being

The fern in the rain breathes the silver message.
Stay, lie low. Play your dark reeds
and relearn the beauty of absorption.
There is nothing beyond the rotten log
covered with leaves and needles.
Forget the light emerging with its golden wick.
Raise your face to the water-laden frond.
A thousand blossoms will fall into your arms.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2011 by Anne Coray from her most recent book of poetry, A Measure’s Hush, Boreal Books, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Anne Coray and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.


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