Monday, November 3, 2014

out of such persistence


by Jane Hirshfield

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs–all this resinous, unretractable earth.

The Problem of Describing Trees

by Robert Hass

The aspen glitters in the wind
And that delights us.

The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of August
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.

The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.

It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.

Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.

Mountains, sky,
The aspen doing something in the wind.

So we have this morning, the optimism and resilience of the Hirshfield poem. And the line from Hass, "It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us." Of course, his poem, while talking about the limits of poetry, the limits of description, ends up being quite lovely. For who doesn't have a picture of what that indescribable action is: "The aspen doing something in the wind." Quite a funny line. Helpless, the poet throws up his arms. Nevertheless, the delight is felt, conveyed.

These photos are leftovers from last week, I suppose you could say. Over the weekend it seemed more and more leaves were blown or fell from the trees. There is much less colour now.

I keep returning to this tree. There is a difficulty in photographing it. There's not quite enough space around it. But it's a lovely tree.

The time changed this past weekend, so that we turned our clocks back. I'm sure most of you did same. The dog doesn't really follow the rules of daylight saving time, so naturally announced himself at the usual time. Which happens to now be 5am rather than 6am. But I'm going to take the extra hour to write something. I'm going to take it as a gift.

Wishing you all calm things this Monday morning. May you find poetry in your days in this week ahead.


  1. I'm especially loving the colours here today (I want to knit them all!), your tree, the space and the lack of it required to capture its inherent, elusive beauty. xo

  2. I would love to see your knitting in this colour range :)

  3. I love the Hass poem and your thoughts expressed here resonate. It IS a lovely tree, and there WAS/IS enough space. But I know what you mean.


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