"Man Hesitates but Life Urges" by D'Arcy McNickle

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
November 13, 2022 
Made possible thanks to readers like you.

Man Hesitates but Life Urges

D’Arcy McNickle

There is this shifting, endless film
And I have followed it down the valleys
And over the hills,—
Pointing with wavering finger
When it disappeared in purple forest-patches
With its ruffle and wave to the slightest-breathing wind-God.

There is this film
Seen suddenly, far off,
When the sun, walking to his setting,
Turns back for a last look,
And out there on the far, far prairie
A lonely drowsing cabin catches and holds a glint,
For one how endless moment,
In a staring window the fire and song of the martyrs!

There is this film
That has passed to my fingers
And I have trembled,
Afraid to touch.

And in the eyes of one
Who had wanted to give what I had asked
But hesitated—tried—and then
Came with a weary, aged, “Not quite,”
I could but see that single realmless point of time,
All that is sad, and tired, and old—
And endless, shifting film.

And I went again
Down the valleys and over the hills,
Pointing with wavering finger,
Ever reaching to touch, trembling,
Ever fearful to touch.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 13, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Subscribe to the Poem-a-Day Podcast 

  

“Man Hesitates but Life Urges” was first published in The Frontier vol. 6, no. 2 (March 1926). Jennifer Elise Foerster, during a reading and discussion of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (W. W. Norton, 2020) hosted by the Institute for Inquiry and Poetics at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, called the poem “an example of the liminality of language, and how language can return us to a sense of homeland as a place of in-between,” adding that “[a]s we all know, Indigenous homelands in this country have endured a violent mapping and language-ing, and poetics, I believe, can become a way of remapping. [. . .] In D’Arcy McNickle’s poem, we can see the poem embracing not knowing, being lost, and finding a homeland internally in the very journey of seeking.”

William D’Arcy McNickle, born on January 14, 1904, in St. Ignatius, Montana, was a novelist, short story writer, poet, anthropologist, and Indigenous rights activist. A member of the Salish Kootenai Nation, he is the author of multiple titles, including The Surrounded (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1936) and Wind from an Enemy Sky (Harper and Row, 1978). He died on October 10, 1977.

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry
When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry
(W. W. Norton, 2020)

“A Desert Memory” by Bertrand N. O. Walker
read more

“Experience” by Carl Sandburg
read more

Thanks to Jake Skeets, author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed, 2019), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read or listen to a Q&A about Skeets’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
Love Poem-a-Day?

Help the Academy of American Poets share daily poems by joining our monthly sustainers program or by making a one-time gift.

Become a  monthly sustainer.

Make a gift.

Copyright © 2022 The Academy of American Poets, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
The Academy of American Poets
75 Maiden Lane
St #901
New York, NY 10038

Add us to your address book


View this email in your browser

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Older messages

"Lines Written at Castle Island, Lake Superior" by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Here in my native inland sea / From pain and sickness would I flee Facebook Twitter Instagram November 12, 2022 Made possible thanks to readers like you. Lines Written at Castle Island, Lake Superior

"Curve Waves" by Boderra Joe

Friday, November 11, 2022

a hole / a floating rib / an admirer's shadow / ribs with grief Facebook Twitter Instagram November 11, 2022 Made possible thanks to readers like you. Curve Waves Boderra Joe a hole a floating rib

Join Us Next Week for Gather in Poems: An Offering of Community Through Poetry

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Join us for Gather in Poems, a virtual reading, on November 17. Join us next week for Gather in Poems, a special reading and offering of community through poetry. Featuring: Hanif Abdurraqib Sumita

"Coyote Sees Himself in Water" by Tacey M. Atsitty

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Averts his gaze: nare & lore, a body; / of water braided into itself: bone Facebook Twitter Instagram November 9, 2022 Support Poem-a-Day Coyote Sees Himself in Water Tacey M. Atsitty Averts his

"There Is No San Lenín" by Chip Livingston

Thursday, November 10, 2022

i know there's no blue prince / like the beast of the apocalypse removed Facebook Twitter Instagram November 10, 2022 Made possible thanks to readers like you. There Is No San Lenín Chip Livingston

Sarah Jessica Parker Just Wore Her Most Practical Carrie Bradshaw Look Ever

Thursday, December 1, 2022

An easy one-and-done outfit. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ TZR logo The Zoe Report 11.30.22 Sarah Jessica Parker Just Wore Her Most Practical Carrie Bradshaw Look Ever (Celebrity) Sarah Jessica

GRANTED: Connecting with your future self and learning from the past

Thursday, December 1, 2022

A monthly dose of insight from Adam Grant, bestselling author and Wharton organizational psychologist View this email in your browser November 2022 The learning process isn't finished when you

To Build a Website

Thursday, December 1, 2022

XPress Access | November ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

"Washed Denim" Is The Eyeshadow Update To Your Fave Y2K Shade

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Plus, the definitive guide to all 52 'Real Housewives' beauty brands. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Gifts that won't wind up in the regifting pile

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Whether you're buying for your dad, significant other, or the cousin you drew in your family's annual gift exchange, we've rounded up some foolproof recs for every interest and style.

Our verdict on air fryer toaster ovens

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

And a sale on one we like ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

58 White Elephant Gift Ideas Everyone Will Fight For

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

If you have trouble reading this message, view it in a browser. Men's Health Holiday Gift List Welcome to the Gift List from Men's Health, a special newsletter for the holiday season that gives

Thank You!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A heartfelt update about our 2022 Giving Tuesday fundraiser. OHF WEEKLY Thank You for Your Support! By Clay Rivers – 30 Nov 2022 – View online → 💛 Hey Reader, To our much-beloved donors, thank you for

GIFT GUIDE: gifts for slowing down 💆‍♀️

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

candles, cozy robes, and more view email in browser refer a friend / subscribe ~ girls' night in: holiday gift guide edition ~ Gifts for Slowing Down We may be a little biased, but there's

10 Fancy Gifts for Experienced Coffee Drinkers

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

They already bought a nice grinder. Get them something they won't get themselves.... ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ Do everything better Wednesday, November 30, 2022 Holidays 10