Friday, April 29, 2011

American Heritage

American Heritage
Dean Olson

I don’t envy those who savor
sepia-toned photographs.
Those who sift the slender veins of genealogy,
mine the fissured tissues of family bibles
or distill diaries of voyages over sea and rutted trail.
My scrapbook has little depth beyond parents,
a childhood spent outdoors and an obscure
hard-drinking Danish grandmother.
That may be why I feel there is little pattern to life.
There were few hand-me-down expectations.
And it may be why I favored uncharted waters,
never giving more intimacy than necessary,
never giving the boss more than two weeks notice.
But I want you to know,
in this hour of falling leaves,
though I am captive to mysterious foliage
I believe everything I have done
is useful.


Dean Olson has published six limited-edition poetry collections. He is emeritus faculty of the Evergreen State College, where he taught economics, cultural studies and maritime history. He lives in Olympia, Washington with his children and grandchildren. His poems have been accepted for publication in Cascade #2 by the Washington Poetry Association, and by Prairie Schooner.

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