Editor’s Note: “Poems to Listen By” is an audio series where, over time, we will explore some of the themes in the Poet Laura checklist, as well as Tweetspeak’s “Year of Wisdom” theme throughout 2020.
Poems to Listen By: Sharing the Canopy: 8 Ways Trees Embody Our Stories—Benedictus. Presented by Laurie Klein
From swaying crowns to roots, from rigid bark to heartwood, from understory to back story (and beyond!), trees—and tree poems—may arrest us, move us, even re-root us.
In her poem “Benedictus,” Luci Shaw writes:
When a tree is topped
for the power lines,
the emptiness afterwards is
inhabited by a green
throb of leaves.
Like the vividness we feel about
someone just dead,
shivers with presence.
In a similar vein, poet Paul J. Willis reminisces while hiking in the wilderness, with its storied cliffs and forests.
Amid his personal loss (and eventual gain), Willis describes a dream, almost a “Ghost Story.”
I wonder: When have you encountered a jolt of eternity? How did it change or illumine you? I hope you’ll daydream about it; perhaps, write about it . . .
Write a poem about a way that a sense of mortality or eternity ignited something new in you. What changed in your understanding or your actions?
Photo by Hannes Flo, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Poems used with permission. Audio and script by Laurie Klein with thanks to Pat Stien for direction and Bill Klein for engineering and music from his solo album, “Lauda.”