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Dan Stryk

Lines for Our National Forecasters


For decades now they’re always right, it seems. Rarely a gaff

from the sweeping beam of that prophetic radar Eye. Wide

satellite brain scanning our world on the ceaseless News with

vibrant charts of flowing light — from Arctic Blue to Tropic

Green — beneath the queer effect of mimicked cloud or jungle

steam. Our own small region we’ve peered hard to find, fading

in and out beneath the spell of their fixed smiles (whether

"harsh or calm"), graphs of days we’ve still to live spread

wide as flags beside their raised batons. Like clever Gods

we serve and claim to love (praise for stripping terror

from our lives, but wish to flee) they’ve taken all the

mystery away. All we’d feared but sought to understand —

following those rhythmic prints of wooly herds through

sleet; in later cults, as one, praying for rain. That need

to feel our earthly days within the cortex, flesh, and bone,

worshipping the living Sun (or Ra): mists of doubt, stirred

in the night, that made us anxious for new daylight

(not assured), but made us whole.


Dan Stryk teaches world literature and creative writing at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, and has authored five collections of poems and prose parables, including The Artist and the Crow (Purdue University Press). His most recent poems and prose pieces appear in such publications as North American Review, Shenandoah, Ontario Review, Harvard Review, New York Quarterly, and his work is represented in the anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (UVA Press, 2003). He is the recipient of an NEA Poetry Fellowship.

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