The Shaman Considers His Craft

Did say footprints?

Did say each puddle reflects a world? I use to see distinction in things other people instinctively ignore.

The bird in the bush could sing his door wide, and with windows

there to open

the wealth of those deeper places could catch the thrush’s warble and glitter white fire.

But then I got to naming things, and relating one thing to another.

The tracks for instance, no longer just a trail to follow, an extension or some place where the mystery of places might echo a brittle birth.

I had to know that beauty—decode it,

like a song. The thrush’s song, the broken tracks, the little brown splotch that is the bird upon

its branch, it had to be a destiny, a metaphysic or sympathy breaking down haunted tomes …

levels of Justice and fate.


I had to know what made the haunted real,

to know how these doors open, one into another so that bird sails freely

and his fire pierces through the bush, the puddles that are slick as sliding glass,

and know much more than being carried by a song (his song from his landscape) into a scape not mine and not his.

And at that point, that beauty that became so brittle as I went downward

(through the landscape his beauty built into the scape not mine and not his)

I missed the whole haunted meaning of fire and magic both.

And I was left there, as if I stood before a maze of bushes all grown with doors.

Ray Hinman’s poetry collection, “Our Cities Vanish,” where these poems were previously published, is available on Read more about his work at Our Cities Vanish: Poetry by Ray Hinman.