Saturday, July 03, 2004

Here's a recent poem. (Reading it again, I see an aversion to (a 'swerving from,' even) tragedy. I know, it's only a tree. But that too is what I mean.)

Self-Georgic: Dwarf Gravenstein

A tree
which never awoke rolled over
into the warm season without a leaf—
Here I transcribe its dreams, its and not mine:

under clouds, it is strongest
among a field of near-as-strong, its children. There are no men
and wasps, the sun they doze through,
humid sun, and sometimes a slow breeze beats over
a moireish Turkmen carpet of rotting apple, from which birds
with ravenous appetites carry its seed and over
oceanic fields of humus drop them in waves. Nothing
stems these coming saplings but themselves. All is
as it should be, uncontained sun and roots full as trunks
until remembering the depth of pleasure, sap

underground and roots so swollen away
from cold, horizon, breeze, no farther out than we mostly are
with our attentions as we walk familiar home,
with the season contracts, expands to dreaming,
to concentration and depth, and finds itself
in the pleasure of depth a dream, an overless season
of self, self-
knowledge, rippless sea unwaiting, time untimed.

Two dreams here, in this one container.
From the nursery dormant, full-rooted, ready
to grow into my landscape
and dreams and my son’s knowing.
It is green-cambered and is yet unleaved.
It will slowly die, though we give it water.
Though it once grew, must have, to become what it, though slender, is,
it has in our home chosen self-knowledge over life.
There are better ways to know yourself than dreaming.
A tree may not know that. A tree may only know
the other way when knowing, the way which is inward and
too gradual to mean. Better you should look for life
in forgetfulness, tree, better you should be nothing.
Nothing is better than the meaning which suffocates
with its promise that eloquence, that of leaves or tongues, is
a matter of self, not time, or can be.

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