Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017


by M. Doretta Cornell

I have always loved you,
Gary Snyder, loved your
poems. Although I was 
a city girl, my heart
has long rested by a lake 
with stars moving slowly 
in the camera’s lens.
While my body grew up 
in the city, my heart 
was rooted in the small
gravel of that shore, and in
the grove of maples where
one wintry weekend I tented
in snow, blanketing my own
warmth into the canvas cave.
It warmed me through cold
winters huddled in the stone
boxes of city walls
It warms me still.

If I had seen 
the Canyon then, perhaps 
I would have known your poems 
were real, perhaps my feet 
would have held fast 
against returning. Perhaps 
I would have lived 
in a cleft, my long roots
spread tendril-thin inside
the rock, my leaves
clenched and hardened
hoarding water, precious
water and the love
of this dark sun-blind center 
of the Earth.


SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

M. Doretta Cornell

is a writer, teacher, advocate for environmental justice and peace, and member of the Poetry Caravan. She taught literature and writing at Pace University for many years and has taught poetry workshops at the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center and in the Brenda Connor-Bey Learning to See program. Her poems have appeared in Westchester Review, Third Wednesday, Red River Review, Earth’s Daughters, Inkwell, Commonweal, the Poetry Caravan anthology (en)compass, and in the 5th and 6th editions of McGraw-Hill’s textbook, Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry and Drama, among other venues.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury