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Black Lake

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Below is the poem entitled Black Lake which was written by poet Caleb Smith. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Black Lake

Time passes
and I have to remind myself that it does so every day. It seems impossible sometimes to get above the fog of my own memory and into the space where images meet feelings to become nostalgia.

I found myself standing before the Black Lake Woods where I first went hunting with my father. They have since been logged out, and the lake has dried down to a mud-hole. Seeing them now gives me a feeling of angry despair. I imagine it as a feeling akin to seeing a loved one naked and hurt on the ground, and being unable to help.

Standing here now, looking at the ghosts of giants, I'm taken back to a particular hunting trip with my dad. I was seven, and we were hunting squirrel. My dad carried his old 16 gauge, a gun that had belonged to his father ... a beast of a gun. The woods were alive in falls grasp, vibrant in the crisp song of a cool morning. To the west, the river ran like a quiet sentinal ... spanning the length of all the dreams that fathers have for their sons, and sons have of their fathers. If there is one image I will always remember of him, it would be him standing in the Black Lake Woods. He is still ... silent. His gun rests in the crook of an arm and his face is turned up to the trees. His mouth, slightly open, seems to be almost tasting the air. A shaft of light, breaking over the levee, slices across his face and turns the few gray hairs in his stubble into silver. There were many times when I was afraid of this man, but in moments like these, I was in awe of him. Now I can see just how much I am like him. How many times have I stood in just that way, with my own son behind me, watching me hunt? I think that was the day when I truly fell in love with the woods. It was the day that I went in and never really came out again. Sometimes, when the woods circle around me and my vision is cleared, I get glimpses of that little boy, walking the trees behind his father.

The events of that morning, long ago as it seems, partly created the man that I have become, and partly destroyed the boy I was before. Therefore, forever comforting my disquiet and vexing it too ... in the haunting harmony of the Black Lake Woods ...

...but that is another story

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  1. Date: 12/9/2013 3:41:00 PM
    So like Peter Pan, no one really wants to loose all of their child ;) [certainly I don't] Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my verse. Light & Loved

  1. Date: 9/30/2013 8:41:00 PM
    Totally captivated by your descriptive and heart felt experience. Really enjoyed being in the scene with you. Very well done :)

  1. Date: 9/19/2013 3:58:00 PM
    What a heartfelt story of a small boy and his father. Love is showing in every line I read here. Great one!! Betty

  1. Date: 9/17/2013 11:00:00 AM
    Well, well, Mr. McCaleb! I see you have been busy writing and I am looking forward to catching up with your work. This story is full of your usual intense descriptions and wise observations. I love these little trips inside your mind!

  1. Date: 9/10/2013 5:03:00 PM
    Caleb, this is not the poem from your blog, is it? I mean, this one I saw earlier. But you are trying to do a really long story that you can't post for losing it? Did you try the suggestion Drake gave you at the blog? Or try doing it in a file first? Hope you get it up. I am so tired, falling asleep at keyboard. Later, gator boy!!

  1. Date: 9/9/2013 7:09:00 PM
    Well....needless to say young man..I enjoyed another small glimpse into your heart here...there were times I was afraid of this man...but in moments like these.....I relate to this completely...always enjoy your shared moments Caleb...

  1. Date: 9/9/2013 11:45:00 AM
    there is something so mystical about the woods that i will never be able to fully grasp.. and yet, you did so with such subtleties of emotion --- the continuum of life, the press of memories both cherished and bittersweet... nope, i won't enter your contest if you post this there. jkidding.. you amaze, caleb!.. a keeper of nature, that's what you are! :) huggs

  1. Date: 9/9/2013 5:44:00 AM
    Thanks for sharing your memory and thoughts. This is filled with power, heart and impact. I love the mysterious ending...time goes... still lingering through our brains..memories are good at that...lingering...but they make for great poetry and lessons. Always, Laura

  1. Date: 9/6/2013 7:31:00 AM
    Well Caleb, i'm hoping you'll follow up on the story. this story make me think of how youth is lost and sometimes forgotten, then found. darn you and your awesome way with words. i could feel this the imagery plus my own.(time passing) I haven't felt like this from a poem in a long time. standing there watching my life take charge. "as you move into the woods I felt a slight ballet and dance across your olden memories." A fashion way from your pen. Breathing the words you spoke gently of the tired memories of you becoming him. So much i want to quote here. I much can't explain the silent feeling here as much as I wish i could. but happy tears. from me to you.. always~ LINAD

    Smith Avatar Caleb Smith
    Date: 9/6/2013 12:45:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I'm finishing the rest of the story right now, actually. It does my heart good to know that you liked it so much. Thank you so much, Linda
  1. Date: 9/5/2013 6:34:00 PM
    Oh, my, how could anyone ever match the wonder of the woods in their poems as well as you with all these memories you have of it, and how magically you portray it? I could never do it justice. I do have a woods poem from a recent contest that I think would come closest to what you want. Hope you won't mind me putting that one in your contest.

    Smith Avatar Caleb Smith
    Date: 9/6/2013 6:23:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thanks so much, Andrea. And a poem from a recent contest will be fine . I do hope you enter.
  1. Date: 9/5/2013 7:32:00 AM
    Your more than an excellent writer Caleb, your a Chanter who recants the woodsman, I walking in the forest with my brother in law a couple of years ago, and I had the honor of spotting an albino deer, I will never forget that moment as long as I live, you have peeler eyes, I can tell by the way you write, thank you for sharing your father's story, love peace and light unending, xxxViennaxxx

    Smith Avatar Caleb Smith
    Date: 9/6/2013 6:24:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Seeing an albino deer in the wild is really a treat....that's so rare. I'm jealous!...;)
  1. Date: 9/5/2013 5:00:00 AM
    Simply amazing and soothing write

  1. Date: 9/4/2013 7:47:00 PM
    Caleb...This is the magic of you...the tough outdoorsy guy...the hunter... with a heart and soul and a love for words and the world! Truly beautiful...I like the line that Chris mentioned as well...The love you have for your dad is palpable. These moments shape us...LOVELY read! SO good to have you back, my dear...I SO hope that squirrel got away! ;) Yea...HAD to have a rant in there...Poor free happy little creature! HA HA! I may convert you yet!

    Smith Avatar Caleb Smith
    Date: 9/5/2013 12:52:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Haha...NEVER! Oh, and, no....the squirrelS did not get away...
  1. Date: 9/4/2013 7:18:00 PM
    Caleb, this is very emotive writing that left a bittersweet residual effect behind after I finished reading. These lines spoke to me the most: "I think that was the day when I truly fell in love with the woods. It was the day that I went in and never really came out again." I know the feeling .... at least in my own way. I might go look for something mindless and humerous to read now, before I spiral into a bout of existentialism -- Ha!

    Smith Avatar Caleb Smith
    Date: 9/6/2013 6:26:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Haha...go read Boogers. I appreciate your comments, Chris....means a lot to me that you enjoyed it.
  1. Date: 9/4/2013 3:56:00 PM
    The vision of that boy in the black lake woods following his dad footsteps..I can get quite a glimpse of that momentary unity between you..your dad and mother nature..A beautiful poem.I do believe part of that young boy will always be alive in the new man..Yes he lives in your so dad and the woods..All part of yoyr identity.