The Stranger Poem by William F Dougherty

The Stranger

Rating: 5.0

I traced his tracks in crunching snow,
printed crisply under the solemn pines:
they left a trail like doubt in doubt—
shuffling in murk, as if for signs.

I figured him lost, at least in thought—
he stopped at clearings and, by rite,
stepped off their space, as if he sought
some portal into larger light.

The stranger's prints began to fail
when wind and snow whipped up a whine;
out of the wood, I lost his trail:
the only footprints left seemed mine.

William F Dougherty 15 June 2012

It takes a heap of trouble to pretend to simple nothings. Cards up sleeves; wombats pulled out of hats.

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William F Dougherty 04 June 2012

True, but also-written in Frost country, and a little wily. Traditional theme of going into the dark woods (of self) to find oneself (light) dates back to Dante. Notice doubt in doubt, lost in thought. May not work that well, but perhaps not that simple, either. Could the narrator be the Stranger? How would it be possible for the snow to cover over one set of tracks and not the other, so that exiting the woods explorer says the tracks seemed to be his? Happenstance? Or is there a stranger in the self to be tracked down? I don't know.

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Diane Hine 04 June 2012

Love this poem. We spend a good part of our lives tracing the tracks of others.

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