Literary Yard

Search for meaning

A Poem Written on a Hill

By: Andrew Campbell

The following was written as I stood on a hidden hill off the Natchez Trace Parkway, about four miles into an overgrown trail. It remains, and will always remain, as it was when I scribbled it on damp pages:


There’s a life to be found out by the water where the trees blow and bow between blistering breezes. I’ve been alone long enough to know that happiness isn’t always found in community
—nor is God
—nor is love.

Because I see God everywhere
—I see him in my neighbor, perched on her lawn chair, and taking long and lonely drags on her cigarette
—I see Him out here on the trails where no one’s crying or breathing or wanting more because everything around me already has enough
—I see Him rushing across the water and pushing small waves against the grassy shore
—and I see Him as I lay in bed at night and try to let the sound of my ceiling fan put me to sleep, but I can’t, or maybe I don’t want to because life is easier to live at night when no one knows or cares what’s on your mind.

I hope that one day I’ll be able to walk on those busy downtown streets and not care about what people are doing or where they’re going or why the man in the black suit looked at me the way he did, but I can’t because I’m not ready
—I know God wants me on this hill or on these empty trails or in my bed because He knows that if I go anywhere else, I’ll forget to think about him, and all of the sudden my life wouldn’t have any meaning anymore.

I’m OK here because I know that a boring life with purpose is more interesting than a life lived in a rush, even though it’s beyond the understanding of those who find themselves old and frail without ever having woken up in the morning and whispered, “Why am I here?”


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