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Stephen Behrendt: Early Morning Animal Tracking

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Visits to poet StephenBehrendt's favorite places in the West linger in his memory and imagination as "places of mind," where blue skies and the fragrance of sun-baked evergreen needles connect him more intensely to his surroundings than the "whitish Great Plains summer sky, heavy with humidity" of his home in Nebraska.

From Behrendt's poem, "Tracks:"

"The fresh snow discloses what dry nights conceal:
the criss-crossing paths of paw prints -
the rule-straight lines, the rabbits' threes-and-ones,
the small indentations that straddle the steady furrow
where the possum's tail parted the fluff,
the fine lines of sparrows' feet, jays' larger ones,
crows' larger still where they foraged at sunrise,
poked and pried up small things, lifeless, stiff,
from the snow that piled sometime past midnight."

(Broadcast: "Reflections West," 1/21/15 & 7/29/15. Listen weekly on the radio, Wednesdays at 4:54 p.m.)

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