2 poems — Todd McCarty

The following poems are from a manuscript titled Rock Leaf River. They focus on the photographs of Andy Goldsworthy.

Water and Leaves

Sometimes it’s about the floating
and not being carried off.

How the horse chestnut leaves
with sections torn out

fan like crenelated paddles
on the black pond water,

and how the shiny smooth darkness
activates the green surfaces.

I think of the wind and water
speaking to one another

as the leaves adhere to the surface,
and how the smoothness reflects

the tangle of branches above
framed by the ever-changing sky.

There is a spell in this stillness, a reverent
muteness which begs a baffling clarity.



Making the between apparent
for a brief moment

is what all this fuss is about.
Graceful and rough hewn,

a marvel it is. The frost shadow
is my favorite of all liminal forms

simply because it takes time.
Standing in the sunrise watching

the surrounding grass turning green again
as my shadow emerges white within black.

I slowly lean forward allowing for the sun’s drift
to keep the shadow’s proportions consistent.

Then stepping away, the black & white
separate—the elongated evidence of man

standing contemplating what?
A simple question, a sculpture itself.

The grass embossed white
and carved by light,

the trace of a single human
lying in a field at sunrise.


Todd McCarty’s poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Quiddity, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and other journals. In addition to co-teaching poetry workshops for retirees with Maureen Ewing, he is a member of the manual typewriter brigade Poems While You Wait. He is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant and a Vermont Studio Center residency. Blue Press Books published his chapbook, Fall for You, and he lives in Chicago.