The Ancient Modern

I’ll Step Now Down /  Joshua Alan Sturgill     

From the new collection, Now A Major Motion Picture 

I’ll step now down among the meadowsweet
and rest its tannic resin on my tongue. Confuse
my thoughts with snowmelt streams, my fingers
for the smaller branches of the bramble oaks.

I’ll step now down into the breath of sunlight,
tangled in the lupine and the larkspur sprays. I’ll find
my eyes are reading mountain meadows, just as if
the grasses and the wildflowers were a score

of music. Drinking deeply, I’ll discern the oldest texts
of native ways: ten thousand generations hunting deer
on paths the deer themselves have made. This hill,
a paragraph—each pebble is a word from volumes

stacked in shale cliffs—will tell how Heaven
lives beneath the Earth as well, supporting Earth
with burnished hands, face raised and radiant
with expectation. Earth’s enlightenment is Heaven’s

contemplation. When my eyes are full, I’ll step now
blindly, down among the river stones. And while
I walk, I feel the laughing cold of ice released
a myth my bare, brave feet will read to me


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2022 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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