August’s Featured Poet | Annie Lighthart


As If Pulling Together a Great Complicated Theme

As if pulling together a great complicated theme, two finches make a nest
with twigs and string, line it with fluff from cottonwood trees. 
Theirs is a long affectionate aria, an extravagant psalm ending in a forest hut.  
Basho on the road hears the work.
Christ also, his hand on his knee.
The full forever goes back and forth, likened to birth, likened to death.  
Old friend, you send me words like a white stork’s wing.




This is an old world, an old, old world 
that shifts, that sighs in its sleep 

and wakes occasionally to calm the waves, 
to settle the wind, 

feeling again the itch of creatures 
on its skin, all of them 

moving day and night, clutching life 
and letting go—

the earth a rolling thought 
made of many things—

sparrows like small psalms, salted eyes, 
soft dirt and kill

under the lion’s paws, and every human
awake or asleep 

in little boxes of prisons, 
in the aching containers of bodies

and the tight compartments of the past,
all the skulls constrained, 

the minds in pain—the thought of them
a thought I can hardly touch

but with the fingertips 
of an outstretched hand, gentle

because that is the only way, patient, 
because that too is the only way.



All afternoon by the window, sunlight—
that great soft hand on my head. I could hardly
move. And the sun spoke.  It said, There now. 
Maybe your heart is bigger and wiser than you think.
Afternoon slowly rolled into evening.
I will listen for that voice all the days of my life.





About Annie Lighthart 

Annie Lighthart started writing poetry after her first visit to an Oregon old-growth forest and now teaches poetry workshops wherever she can. Poems from her books Iron String and Pax have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and in various anthologies, including How to Love the World and Poetry of Presence. Annie’s poems have also been turned into choral music, used in healing projects in Ireland, England, and New Zealand, and have traveled farther than she has.