by Robert Penn Warren

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.

The sound was passing northward.

SOURCE: “Tell Me a Story” appears in The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren (1998), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Northbound,” watercolor by R. Kyllo. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) — a poet-novelist-essayist-editor-critic — is the only person to win a Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry, and considered the most decorated American author of all time. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for his novel All the King’s Men and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. From 1944-1945, Warren served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. His other honors and awards include Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980), MacArthur Fellowship (1981), designation as first U.S. Poet Laureate (1986), and National Medal of Arts (1987).