One page escaped the manuscript
on its way to the printers,
slipped between desk and wall,
stayed concealed like a hermit
who hides from unfriendly regimes
in Siberian wilds; or like
those pockets of Japanese troops
holed up in the jungle unaware that war
is over, only know they must wait
among banyans, ginger flowers and vines,
hoard the last grains of rice, live off
peculiar roots, keep bayonets sharp.
The poem hid in its niche years after
the rest were lauded or discarded....
Tonight it shows up, smudged and frayed,
accustomed to silence as a recluse
snowed in for months in a shack,
who when company comes bursts forth
in dialect antique as that
seventeenth-century English preserved
in remote Appalachian valleys:
familiar but antiquated, odd.
Still, one welcomes the prodigal
back to the fold.