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!
I started reading The Overstory yesterday. It opens with a selection of poetry and this poem by Bill Niedjie struck me…deeply. I hope it moves you as well.
he watching you.
You look at tree,
he listen to you.
He got no finger,
he can’t speak.
But that leaf….
he pumping, growing,
growing in the night.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
I have been trying to up my poetry reading this year and this month brings me to the poetry of Michael Longley – a very prolific poet and I am fortunate that my library has a collection of his works. It has been fascinating to read bits and pieces of his work each morning as part of my morning meditations. Longley’s works provide the loveliest way to start the day and I thought I’d share one of the poems I read this week with you.
by Michael Longley
When you woke me up and showed me through the window
Curtains of silk, luminous smoke, ghost fires,
A convergence of rays above the Black Mountain,
The northern lights became our own magnetic field –
Your hand on my shoulder, your tobacco-y breath
And the solar wind that ruffled your thinning hair.
Happy Tuesday everyone!
The heat is almost unbearable, which means early morning watering and weeding (and walking!) How is it that despite the heat, the weeds flourish?
My thoughts have turned to Michigan this week, we booked our vacation and I really can’t wait to go. And, it’s days (weeks?) like this when I long to be back in Michigan and even Derek Walcott’s To Norline reminds me of this picture from a misty morning at Oval Beach.
This beach will remain empty
for more slate-colored dawns
of lines the surf continually
erases with its sponge,
and someone else will come
from the still-sleeping house,
a coffee mug warming his palm
as my body once cupped yours,
to memorize this passage
of a salt-sipping tern,
like when some line on a page
is loved, and it’s hard to turn.
I love those misty, “slate-colored” dawns and the sound of the water and the birds and the winds. Good things to think of on a quiet, but hot Tuesday morning.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Stay cool!
City living has its perks, but it also has its drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is ambient light at night, which makes seeing stars a challenge!
When I read this poem by Derek Walcott, I was carried back to my childhood and memories of seeing that last star boldly shining as the sun begins to tint the sky, or that first star to show itself as the sunlight faded. I hope it stirs equally pleasant memories for you.
If, in the light of things, you fade
real, yet wanly withdrawn
to our determined and appropriate
distance, like the moon left on
all night among the leaves, may
you invisibly delight this house,
O star, doubly compassionate, who came
too soon for twilight, too late
for dawn, may your faint flame
strive with the worst in us
with the passion of plain day