As I was strolling in a glade of green
And paid but little thought to anything,
I hardly knew what vistas filled the scene
Of birds intensely hast’ning on the wing.

What forceful aim possessed them, but not me,
In migratory flight with purpose clear,
Whereas my thoughts were drowning in a sea
Of futile ponderings imbued with fear.

I then began to think of what to do
So that my sense of loss would change to “found.”
I ventured, “Why not follow those who flew
Determined straightaway and heaven bound?”

It was a glowing sense of deep desire
That set my hidden self, my id, on fire!



Leo Zoutewelle was born in 1935 in The Netherlands and was raised there until at age twenty he emigrated to the United States.  After retiring in 2012  he has written an autobiography and two novels (unpublished).

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6 Responses

  1. Janice Canerdy

    This well-written sonnet really resonates with me. Sometimes as I take my walk surrounded by nature’s inspiring beauty, I am oblivious to it because
    I have some tangle of mundane thoughts running circles in my mind!

  2. Sally Cook

    Hi, Leo —
    Just a few random thoughts I keep wanting but forgetting to say.
    The most obvious form of criticism is that of technical correction. This is always welcomed by those who want to learn, but often the helpful spirit in which this should be offered seems lacking.
    Certainly there are levels of thought. Your work is invariably built on honesty to a high degree.
    I think it is always our responsibility as poets to take the higher road. When we do not, we fail not only ourselves, but others. This is just to say I always find an honest, thoughtful bedrock in your work.

    • Leo Zoutewelle

      Yes, as long as it doesn’t become boring! But thank you for this, Sally. I always appreciate your wise comments.
      All the best,

  3. Cees Walerd Bui

    “Whither Thou Goest” by Mr. Zoutewelle is reminiscent of the young William Cullen Bryant.

  4. Peter Hartley

    Leo – A very neat and accurate Shakespearean sonnet, and in connection with the theme it never ceases to amaze me that the Arctic tern will travel over ten thousand miles from the north to the south polar regions and back, and will pinpoint the same nesting site it used the previous year. Now that is some “forceful aim”!


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