Choices

By Tess Gallagher

I go to the mountain side

of the house to cut saplings,

and clear a view to snow

on the mountain. But when I look up,

saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in

the uppermost branches.

I don’t cut that one.

I don’t cut the others either.

Suddenly, in every tree,

an unseen nest

where a mountain

would be.

Thoughts and Symbols of This Poem


  • Freedom
  • Beauty
  • Openness of Nature
  • Wildlife Preservation
  • Simple Life
I think this poem is mysterious and quite vague, however appealing to the senses with its careful wording, open nature feel, and dramatic pauses. When the lines end, the reader runs into an option: stop, or continue through the next line until a period in the middle of the next line. They can also do both, stop at the line and end and at the period. This is interesting because it leaves many ways for the poem to be interpreted and spoken aloud.