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Archive for June 19th, 2012

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Ever since this old oak fell more than a week ago, I knew it had a poem to give me. I have learned and continue to learn to wait for writing. First, I walked down to the empty lot where it lay and took pictures. I played with Instagram for the one here. Then I sat with a favorite poet, Mary Oliver. Mary doesn’t fail me. I felt like we were writing side by side. I opened her book, Red Bird, to the poem Night Herons, and one line jumped off the page, “what do we know/ except that death/ is so everywhere and so entire–” Using her form of four lines per stanza and borrowing this line, I wrote a poem about the tree.

An oak tree
fell in the night
while we were sleeping,
unknowing.

Its body broken
by invisible flames,
trunk separated
from leaves, from life.

Happy resurrection fern
clings, even as
clouds form
rain again.

This keeper of stories,
survivor of hurricanes,
fell in a summer storm,
just tired, I guess.

That was the end of growing
as we know it, yet
what do we know
except that death

is so everywhere and so entire–
culling and clearing,
sometimes taking
an old friend.

One strike, one boom,
and the lot fills up
with sprawling branches.
How long

will we walk by
and watch the decomposing?
How long until the chainsaw
destroys?

Until then, I will stay
pray to this sacred sculpture
and to its sculptor:
Rise and sow again.

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