In this lovely poem by Angela Shaw, who lives in Pennsylvania, we hear a voice of wise counsel: Let the young go, let them do as they will...

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In this lovely poem by Angela Shaw, who lives in Pennsylvania, we hear a voice of wise counsel: Let the young go, let them do as they will, and admire their grace and beauty as they pass from us into the future.

TED KOOSER, U.S. Poet Laureate

They don’t wade in so much as they are taken.

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Deep in the day, in the deep of the field,

every current in the grasses whispers hurry

hurry, every yellow spreads its perfume

like a rumor, impelling them further on.

It is the way of girls. It is the sway

of their dresses in the summer trance-

light, their bare calves already far-gone

in green. What songs will they follow?

Whatever the wood warbles, whatever storm

or harm the border promises, whatever

calm. Let them go. Let them go traceless

through the high grass and into the willow —

blur, traceless across the lean blue glint

of the river, to the long dark bodies

of the conifers, and over the welcoming

threshold of nightfall.

— Angela Shaw

Reprinted from “Poetry,” September, 2004, Vol. 184, No. 5, by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 2004 by Angela Shaw. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry. “American Life in Poetry” appears Fridays in Northwest Life.