Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: A favorite poem from a poet friend

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

A favorite poem from a poet friend

Monday, May 24, 2010

Just for a treat today, here is a lovely poem by my friend June Beisch. This was published in the Harvard Review in 2006 and also appeared online on Verse Daily.

I had the great pleasure of reading with June a couple of months ago at the Concord Library. Everyone thereI enjoyed hearing her read her work and also hearing her use her natural teaching talents in her comments between poems.

In Muir Woods

Last night, a giant redwood fell
    either from old age, disease, or
"sometimes they just give up," the ranger said.
Listen, I was in the woods, I
    heard it too, like my own death
falling inside me.
Here in the last of the old growth forests
    where some trees are still virginal,
some older than Moses,
I thought, then, of you. You are not the one
    dying, you said to me,
and I quoted to you from Montaigne
that death was not a proper object of fear
    but only the end of life.
What is a proper object of fear, you asked,
and I said death of the heart.
    But life, you said, was
everything. And you were in love
with that beautiful lie.
Sometimes these trees send out
    all their sap at once
making them vulnerable, sometimes,
they grow burls of anxiety
Look, the ranger said to us,
    the bark is so wet because the tree
drinks hundreds of gallons of water a day
from the fog that rolls in
    over the Golden Gate Bridge.
That bridge which is so beautiful and which
holds such promise for tomorrow
    with its blue shimmering bay.
Every day when I see the fog now,
I think of you and then I can almost
    feel the fog cover me with
that enveloping mist, can almost feel
the branches of the redwood
    being kissed by its cold
ministrations. I would, if I could,
stand here all day like these trees, but my
    heart is so sore, it is almost ready to burst,
and I am filled, suddenly,
with a wild and insatiable thirst.

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Blogger Mim said...


Deep and rich, this poem. I admire the refusal of easy comfort: "But life, you said, was/
everything. And you were in love
with that beautiful lie."


May 25, 2010 at 5:25 AM  

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