Daniel Bourne was raised on a farm near the Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois, and for years worked in a rare book library at Indiana University. His books of poetry include The Household Gods, Where No One Spoke the Language, and On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe, a collection of translations of the political poetry and essays of Polish poet Tomasz Jastrun. Other poems and translations from Polish appear in such journals as Ploughshares, Guernica, American Poetry Review, Field, Salmagundi, Plume and Cimarron Review. Over the years, his stays in Poland have included a Fulbright Fellowship for translation in 1985-87 and a graduate exchange program between Indiana and Warsaw University during Martial Law in 1982-1983. Most recently, he spent part of 2013 and 2014 in Poland to continue his translation work as well as some writing projects involving Polish environmental issues, including the primeval forest of Bialowieża and the island of Sobieszewo on the Baltic Coast just to the east of Gdańsk. He teaches at The College of Wooster, where he edits Artful Dodge.
One of My Students, Upon Completing His Reading of Walden
"The sun is but a morning star."
All books are the same, same trees
that always play the victim, heads bowed
for the usual sharp-tongued axe. Each time
I start to read I'm disappointed, the hound
too much like a horse and dove. When I reach
the first houses of yet another story
I want to turn around and find the nearest ditch.
Better are the marginalia, blessed scratches
of multifloral rose, the commentary of mustard
I spill upon the page since my bread is small.
If only the wood had not
been chopped down for his cabin.
If only his paper had fled off into the thicket.