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Posts Tagged ‘tree’

 

 

The way the spruce tree

holds the wet snow—how

 

in a blizzard its branches

will bend and bend

 

and bend until they release—

that is the way I want to love you,

 

want to trust that I can hold

the weight of you as you fall,

 

as you continue to fall,

hold you until it seems I will break

 

and then, just when I’m sure

I can’t take any more,

 

release you back into yourself—

not in anger, not in fear,

 

not with guilt—release you

with green resilience

 

so that come the next storm

I am prepared

 

to catch you again, again,

and let you go.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Resilience

my heart a cottonwood seed

landed on rock instead of soil—

love says, time to trust the wind

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And usually, at some point

in the tree trimming, when the living room

is covered in twenty-year-old tissues

and my fingers are raw from the needles

and the rest of the family

has long since tired of the project,

around then, I start to wonder

what it’s really for, all this bustle

and embellishment and then,

like today, I’ll pick up an ornament—

say the one my grandmother made

from a metal cookie cutter trimmed

in blue ribbon and angel hair,

and inside it sleep two baby figurines,

a pink one for me, a blue for my brother—

and I am weeping,

remembering how I would stare at this ornament

as a child, how beautiful it was

dangling so high on the tree

where all the more delicate ornaments would go.

I was small then, but I knew

my grandmother made that ornament

with me in mind and I loved her for her thoughtfulness.

She is gone this year, and I marvel

at how present she is in this room

as I sing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”

with Aaron Neville and remember singing

carols with her in the church loft,

her soprano warbling and true.

And I climb the ladder to hang

the ornament high on the tree,

where the more delicate ornaments go.

And suddenly I see it is my son and daughter

sleeping in that ornament,

there where I thought it was my brother and me.

And I think of my mother’s hands

all those years she hung that ornament

reverently, and how the spruce needles

would have pricked her, too, and I

sing with Aaron about peace to men on earth,

and some of that peace slips into me,

so silently, so silently.

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And though he struggles to conjugate estar

and though his adjectives precede the nouns,

he’s doing it. He’s telling me about una foto

and all its themes—and though the words

are like strange spices in his mouth—paprika

y cilantro—and though he insists he hates it,

there is a tender sinceridad in his voice, like

a tree seed, perhaps, una semilla, that has

some vague idea of its potential, but is still

so trapped in its seed-ness that it is intimidated

by trees. And whatever part of me that is todavia

una semilla recognizes itself. How frightening

to see all that we do not know, to stand

beneath it like the shade of a giant tree,

to know ourselves as small and still stand straight.

My son finishes his descripción, then smiles

at me, and in his smile, I somehow see

the roots, the greening leaves, the trunk

as it reaches up doing what trunks are made to do.

 

 

 

 

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The day is quiet and

the light is strong and I sit alone

in the V of the weeping willow

 

in a place where the sun can’t reach me

and no one can see me.

I pull off the bark in thick rough slabs,

 

and the day is drowsy and the light

is long and the bark feels rough

in my four-year-old hands,

 

but I flip it and find it is smooth

underneath where it touches the tree.

Yes, the bark is smooth, like my dress,

 

like me, and I move my fingers across

the soft side, surprised by the secret writings there—

meandering marks that slither and wriggle

 

in cursive spells, some language only

the tree can tell, that only I can read.

And the day is page and the light

 

is song and I am not at all alone,

perhaps there is writing inside me, too,

the bark thrilling in my hands.

 

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One Patience

 

 

 

desperate for shade—

I plant a sapling,

bring it water

 

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One Relearning

but I forgot the words

I said, and the tree said

sing without them

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When climbing the inner branches

of the largest spruce we can find,

 

and finding the prickly lattice

an easier ladder than we imagined,

 

we might climb high enough

that we forget if we are climbing

 

to get away from or to move toward,

might climb long enough

 

that at last it is neither tree

nor land nor sky that feels

 

like home, but our own

limbs as they find the next place

 

to step, to pull up, to rest.

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Still Life

No leaves on the trees

beside the ditch,

and the first snow

outlines in white what remains

in their absence.

What remains is

the dark gesture of tree,

thrust and jut and extend.

Just this morning,

Meredith taught me

to see the movement

in what appears to be still—

even a brown jar,

she says, suggests twist

and elongate and turn.

I wonder if I could be still

like that, still enough

that the snow might settle

on me, though I’m reach

and wrestle and brawl.

This is our practice,

to move at the same time

toward quietude, toward swirl;

to be the scaffolding that holds up

the miracle; to be shine and rise and fall.

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Metempsychosis

Here in the garden
the trees do what trees do—
they do not grow beyond
their ability to support themselves.

In the top of this weeping birch,
the branches are leafless and dead.
They will never grow again,
nor will the tree replace them.

I think of all the ways we try
to heal ourselves, each other.
All the ways we go back to the pain
of the past as if it has some answers.

What if we could let them die, those thoughts,
those wounded ideas of how it should have been,
let them turn brittle and gray, and when
they have lost their weight, let them fall away.

I see how the breeze moves through the leaves
that remain, how green they are, how alive.

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