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—Poetics. Presented by Laurie Klein
From twigs, to needles, to tender leaves with their pumping veins and thirsty pores— trees, and tree poems, eloquently reflect the writing process.
Consider paper—precious paper—hosting, over time, countless poems and stories.
Consider, too, the patience of trees! Season after season, these benevolent giants model lives of giving, reaching, receiving.
Skillful pruning allows trees as well as poems to dance freely in their own space. From poet A. R. Ammons, this is . . .
I look for the way
things will turn
out spiraling from a center,
things will take to come forth in
so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
totally its apparent self:
I look for the forms
things want to come as
from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
not the shape on paper, though
that, too, but the
uninterfering means on paper:
not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
from the self not mine but ours.
—A. R. Ammons
I wonder: What interferes with your giving shape to new thoughts?
What new shape is summoning itself through you, and how might it look on the page?
Bowse More Poems to Listen By with Laurie Klein
Photo by jc.winkler, 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.”
A. R. Ammons, “Poetics,” in The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 1 (1955-1977)
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Richard Maxson says
Lovely poem and presentation. Loved especially the way you said “wind-glittering.”
Rick, thank you. I’m glad you like the poem.
I had to go back and listen to how “wind-glittering” sounded. That got me thinking about evanescent dazzle, like April’s wind today through our back-lit pines. And then pilgrim Annie Dillard’s “tree with the lights in it.” I need to reread that passage . . .
Bethany Rohde says
Thank you for this peaceful place. I so enjoyed listening to your reading and post. I love this idea of considering our generous paper host. I’ll second what Richard said about “wind-glittering.” 🙂
I’m intrigued by your questions. To answer your, “What new shape is summoning itself through you, and how might it look on the page?” I’m drawn to tiny pieces of writing. Been enjoying journaling from the porch again. (A few years back, L.L. Barkat inspired me to sit outside a few minutes a day and I just loved those journaling times.) I don’t know if this will continue, but over time possibly it will lead to capturing a handful of little Simple Pleasures. They may be informal micro-vignettes, brief poems, or something even smaller. Glimpses? I’m imagining a pocket full of tiny hard candies in a multitude of colors and flavors. Sweets to savor during heavy times.
Wishing all the Tweetspeak Community well. 🙂
Laurie Klein says
Marvelous! I imagine you gathering in impressions, capturing the essence of all those glimpses—the momentary, the tiny, the unexpected flash in the pan. May your metaphorical pockets bulge with treasures to savor. And then pass around, when the time is right. Cheering you on!
Bethany R. says
Thank you, Laurie. 🙂 Wishing you a peaceful Sunday. 🙂
Laurie Klein says
And to you as well, Bethany.
Lead me outdoors
Into bright day
Moment of inspiration
Place of Calm
Sounds of earth
Embraced by warmth
Settling my soul
Laurie Klein says
Katie, thank you for letting me see and hear the “shape” and its accompanying sense “summoning itself through” you. I like the way those repeated “em” sounds suggest a gentle hum; they settle something restless in me tonight, and I, too, feel my soul settle as I read your lines:
Thank you, Laurie:)