Since reading The Overstory, I have been more fixated on trees and really thinking much about this brilliant story that Richard Powers wrote. Recently, when I was flipping through a compilation of Derek Walcott’s poetry, I was struck by this poem and though I have not spent much time in eastern Pennsylvania, I can distinctly hear what he writes about.
I think this poem fits perfectly for Thanksgiving as well and perhaps this week when you are outside you will listen to the beautiful “mute roar of autumn” with deep gratitude.
Pastoral by Derek Walcott
In the mute roar of autumn, in the shrill
treble of the aspens, the basso of the holm-oaks,
in the silvery wandering aria of the Schuylkill,
the poplars choiring with a quillion strokes,
find love for what is not your land, a blazing country
in eastern Pennsylvania with the DVD going
in the rented burgundy Jeep, in the inexhaustible bounty
of fall with the image of Eakins’ gentleman rowing
in his slim skiff whenever the trees divide
to reveal a river’s serene surprise, flowing
through snow-flecked birches where Indian hunters glide.
The country has caught fire from the single spark
of a prophesying preacher, its embers glowing,
its clouds are smoke in the onrushing dark
a holocaust crackles in this golden oven
in which tribes were consumed, a debt still owing,
while a white country spire insists on heaven.
I hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going smoothly and whether you are traveling or are receiving travelers – may those travels be safe.
I will see you back here tomorrow for Unraveled Wednesday!