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At the Cabin: Odell Lake
Mark Thalman

Not having talked to anyone in a week,
I keep my voice in shape
by standing on the swing,
knees pumping, arms flexing ropes–
making the board go
back and forth,
higher and higher,
until I´ve got enough momentum
and become the metronome.
If I am off key or forget a lyric,
there is no one to hear it.
On a slight breeze, I sing to my favorite trees,
chipmunks scampering the wood pile,
the shy rabbit by the lake. I sing
through soft filtered light–
a couple of Elvis, a bunch of Beatles,
followed by some soul,
and a medley of rock n´ roll.
Firs, having stood for hundreds of years,
absorb my voice. When I stop
not much has changed.
The world is a little older, the planet 
a little further through space.

First published in Pedestal Magazine.
Used with the author’s permission.





Mark Thalman, editor of and author of Catching the Limit (Fairweather Books), has been widely published for four decades. He received his MFA from the University of Oregon, and is retired after teaching English in public schools for 32 years. Mark, also an artist who enjoys painting wildlife scenes with acrylics, lives in Forest Grove, OregonLearn more about him at

Post New Comment:
What a delightful poem and no wonder, living as you do, knowing to take time for the silences and nuture of woods and water. Thank you again for your poetry.
Posted 11/28/2014 10:31 PM
Larry Schug:
Here's the answer to world peace--swing and sing. If everyone acted like this, our old world would surely appreciate it(and us).
Posted 11/28/2014 11:41 AM
wendy morton:
This funny and lovely poem, its cadence and delight!!
Posted 11/28/2014 10:12 AM
Nabby Dog:
This is a sturdy and eloquent poem that honors the outdoors and our small yet unique place within it. I can smell the crisp air and see those firs that are hundreds of years old. This morning I feel like putting on a thick flannel shirt, pouring a steaming cup of coffee, and traveling through Thalman's wonderful words again and again.
Posted 11/28/2014 07:03 AM
Love this poem - the carefree, energy of youth singing rock n' roll to the trees. Lovely image. Thanks Mark.
Posted 11/28/2014 02:21 AM
The poetry of the countryside has so much to offer. I loved this poem. Somehow City life never. - perhaps 'seldom' is a better word -seems equal to it.
Posted 11/28/2014 01:27 AM

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