by Paul J. Willis

A lake lies all alone in its own shape.
It’s not going anywhere.

A lake can wait a long time
for a hiker to come
and camp on its shore.

It will reflect the moonlight,
give him a drink of pale silver.

Toward dawn, the wind might ruffle
it a little, and the water
will have words with the granite.

Once the hiker goes away
through October meadows,

the lake will sparkle by itself.
You’ll never see it. There is
so much you will never see.

—from Say This Prayer into the Past

Poem of the Month: October 2013


  1. Paul,
    Thanks for the beautiful small poem ‘Listen,’ which captures my own feelings at visiting mountain lakes, as I did this summer at several lakes in the Cascades and one in Garibaldi Provincial Park in B. C.

    I like your website and hope to turn to it when the academic blizzard gets too thick.

    See you in May at Westmont for the C & Lit Conference.


    Dave Leigh

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