This poem reminds me of the effect Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood had on me the first time I read it. Her noticing of so many details in the history and geography and biographies of her life made me realize that I’d had just as fascinating a childhood. From then on I began to look around with a new eye.
Looking Around, Believing
How strange that we can begin at any time.
With two feet we get down the street.
With a hand we undo the rose.
With an eye we lift up the peach tree
And hold it up to the wind — white blossoms
At our feet. Like today. I started
In the yard with my daughter,
With my wife poking at a potted geranium,
And now I am walking down the street,
Amazed that the sun is only so high,
Just over the roof, and a child
Is singing through a rolled newspaper
And a terrier is leaping like a flea
And at the bakery I pass, a palm,
Like a suctioning starfish, is pressed
To the window. We’re keeping busy —
This way, that way, we’re making shadows
Where sunlight was, making words
Where there was only noise in the trees.
by Gary Soto