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?
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)