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The Morning Walker
John Lee Clark


I walk each morning through the woods.
It is my job. Someone has to do it
to bring home morning light.
I greet it in the glade where dew rises

to let my white cane catch the light.
Still fresh from rising, the dawn is nervous,
jerking in the shadows of the trees
lining my pathway. But my cane glows,

holding onto the light as it grows bolder
in the openings between the trees growing
warm. As I make the last turn home,
it bounds ahead of me, chasing away

new-fallen leaves flying up to my door.
By then, the light has grown strong enough
to flood my house, and with a flourish of my cane
I command it to do so. Light rushes

through the windows and around my legs
in the open doorway, all at once
nuzzling my wife awake while tugging
my sons out of bed as it laps my glass of water

without draining it. Yes, it is my job
to make each morning do its job.
I walk each morning through the woods
because if not for me, no morning would come

in this way. On their own, mornings would come
too bright, with a hollow light covering
what should be seen imperfectly, imperfectly
or not at all, only warmed for imagination.

From Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008)
Copyright by John Lee Clark.
Used with the author’s permission.


John Lee Clark was born deaf and became blind in adolescence. His work has appeared in many publications and he is the author of a chapbook and editor of the definitive anthology, Deaf American Poetry, published by Gallaudet University Press. John lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and three sons. Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
Beautiful!! Inspiring, motivating. The best!
Posted 10/31/2014 11:27 PM
The attitude in this lovely poem is so wonderfully innocent yet so confident: because if not for me, no morning would come/in this way. The imagery is awesome.
Posted 10/22/2014 11:19 AM
I love the imagery and the interplay of the speaker and the dawn. Thanks much.
Posted 10/22/2014 08:44 AM
Posted 10/22/2014 07:19 AM
WOW! I agree with Rhona. This poem makes me appreciate my own (sometimes) humdrum life!
Posted 10/22/2014 02:12 AM
This is an amazing poem. It is quite beyond me to comment on it. It finds me in a sea of emotions. This is a person I would love to meet. I shall now stArt my ordinary day by reading it yet again. Best YDP yet. Thank you.
Posted 10/22/2014 01:09 AM

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