Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OpenLinkNight: wHor-to-culture, the science of plant cultivation

What does love look like in the fall,
when all the leaves are gone
& bare trees
raise arms to grey skies,
finding a white cold sun?

Do we rake leaves in piles,
smoldering pyres to what once was,
mourning?

Or duct tape them back to limbs in pale
pantomime to fairer seasons, pretending
the mockery, our reality?

Take axe to the tree, cut, Cut, CuT
reducing it to kindling, feigned re-kindling
so that it might once more
warm or be useful

for something?

Clear cut the way to thrust a new planting
in fertile soil?

Fools rape the land for their own profit
while sap still runs, deep maybe, yet---

Press your ear to the tree's chest, explore
again the textured skin with bold,
gentle touch, circle round each stiff knot,
climb to its heights as you did
& nest in its boughs, dream together blue skies
under the clouds, speak and then speak more,
each ring earned inside tells a story,
let them enter your ear
in groaning utterance---

still
the mad chainsaws GroooWL

what is love?

Far greater have tried to define,
but this, that this tree might be read and
re-read, a book, until framed in ink stained
fingerprints, pen never resting
in its writing.

OpenLinkNight @dVerse Poets - come sit, listen to the words of poets from around the world. bring your own. share. We are poets. Hosted tonight by the marvelous Claudia Schoenfeld.

100 comments:

rosaria said...

Ode to Tree!

hedgewitch said...

My one and only religious experience in life happened with a tree--very similar to what you've written here--I love that image of the duct tape and the leaves--perfect metaphor for the way we deal with nature. The poem is so good I'll even let the pun slide. ;_)

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Brian this is brilliant. What a beautiful way to breathe life and caring into...a tree. The disrespect we show God's creations! UGH.

AmyLK said...

I vote for duct taping them back. Fall brings COLD.

Love the poem.

Heather said...

this is beautiful.....I love the line nest in its boughs and dream togeth blue skies....ah, pure joy!

Christine said...

terrific title, and I love that ending, so tender

Pat Hatt said...

Gave the tree a rather nice spin I see
Sure that will impress the bee
Unlike those profit bound clear cutting rich you know whats
Sure if you duct taped the leave back on some might think you nuts
But it would be sooo funny to do
Don't forget to take a picture or two
Great ending as well
Trees sure have a lot to tell

Natasha Head said...

Brian, I come from a province that has relyed on lumber and fish to the point we have raped the land and the sea. Drive our highways, and amongst the rich forests of once was, you'll see chopping's and windfall. My husband was employed by this industry when contracts started failing, and supply started running low. You speak so much truth, that this one was a little tougher for me to enjoy. (Which is not a bad thing!)

Anyes said...

Did you know trees are communicating chemically with each other? I bet if we listened more carefully we could hear them weep...Beautiful words Brian :-)

Valerie said...

'Far greater have tried to define,
but this, that this tree might be read and
re-read, a book, until framed in ink stained
fingerprints, pen never resting
in its writing.'

That piece of writing really appealed to me and the whole is now top of the favourites list. Excellent.

happygirl said...

"still
the mad chainsaws GroooWL"

I love the sound of chainsaws in the morning. :)
(My take on Bob Duvall in Apocalypse Now)
I still have a ton of trees in my backyard. Wanna come over and put them right? It be ok with me. :)

The Silver Fox said...

Hmmm. Evidently, I got something out of this that no one else did.

Betsy said...

Tree in the fall...or love in the autumn of our years? Oh, this spoke to me....lots to ponder.

Vicki Lane said...

That's beautiful, Brian. It works on so many levels. It put me in mind of Shakepeare's "Love's not love which alters when it alteration finds..."

Daydreamertoo said...

I hate to see trees cut down. For our own uses, we forget they help us breathe the air we breathe and we are clear cutting as if there's no tomorrow.
I think all trees cringe when they hear the cutters and when you think they are very much alive, I wonder if it hurts them.
Gawd you got me on a trail now. I hate seeing them destroyed forever, for money.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

The opening lines..
To the ending lines! It was great! :)

Magpie said...

If we could all understand there are pauses in all things...trees as well as love. Neither of which require a chainsaw to be used. :)

Daniel said...

Some apt imagery spun here today my friend.

Anthony Desmond said...

wow, beautiful piece brian... sad to see our land being robbed of its trees... stripping nature right from its roots...

Sue said...

I love trees, and the poem resonated with me on that level, but I was most moved by what hit me as an analagous exploration of "tree" as "human love" and how there is value in time and shared experience that cannot be replaced but can be rediscovered...

"Press your ear to the tree's chest, explore
again the textured skin with bold,
gentle touch, circle round each stiff knot,
climb to its heights as you did
& nest in its boughs, dream together blue skies
under the clouds, speak and then speak more,
each ring earned inside tells a story,
let them enter your ear
in groaning utterance---"

This rediscovery is exactly what a couple with some serious longevity does, many times over. And I loved the images.

=)

Nancy said...

Beautiful. I love trees - every knot and ridge.

Whosyergurl said...

Brian,
"Press your ear to the tree's chest..." This treehugger loves this line!
I agree, brother, I agree.
Cheryl

Tara Miller said...

I absolutely love fall and the trees with or without their leaves against the gray sky. This part strikes me most "nest in its boughs, dream together blue skies under the clouds". Re-kindling and re-kindled love is a beautiful thing, my love

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

As the weather changes, it reminds us that all must come to an end...

ayala said...

I love...press your ear to the tree's chest....dream together blue skies....love this!

Claudia said...

it's worth the climb...no..? and the scratched knees and elbows, the blood running down the cheeks and the tears, wept on the way...all forgotten when we sit & nest in the tree's boughs and dream the sky blue..

darkangelwrites said...

You could learn a lot from a tree... I can't remember who said that. You have though, haven't you.

mrs mediocrity said...

gorgeous. filled with beautiful, unwavering truth.
i have always loved trees best in winter, when you can see them in all their fabulous naked form.

Laurie Kolp said...

Brian- Powerful and very moving. We can learn a lot about letting go of the past and moving on from trees can't we?

theborgpoet said...

I agree with Claudia, that its worth the climb. Nice and thoughtful piece Brian.

wolfsrosebud said...

cut one down... plant two more... the cycle of life

Belinda said...

Great sensual tone in this, Brian. I don't know why we can't seem to learn the proper way to hug a tree...all it wants to do is love us back.

Kodjo Deynoo. said...

The philosophy of you, I like, deepening questions, very reflective, I am searching my souls to answers

Jannie Funster said...

Trees ARE very precious. We must revere and replant!!

xo

robkistner said...

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree..." ... but this is certainly a fine piece Brian...

TechnoBabe said...

Some people are sensitive to the plants and trees and the things of nature. Other people are duds.

waysidewordgarden said...

I love trees, and I love your poem... esp the imagery of pressing the ear to the tree's chest, just gorgeous.

velvetinapurrs said...

Brian, I am going to say, just very simply, I found this utterly beautiful...

Steve King said...

I love the first three verses especially. My take is that you're describing human reactions to decay. The whole piece is very nice. Enjoyed the visit.

turtlememoir said...

One of my favourite poems as of now. I fell in love with the first question (What does love look like in the fall,...), loved the exploration of answers, and got totally blown away by the final lines:

that this tree might be read and
re-read, a book, until framed in ink stained
fingerprints, pen never resting
in its writing.


Oh yes!

Louise said...

The whole thing's great but that last stanza is wonderful...lovely

Beachanny said...

This raises the rant inside me. I was forced to do promotion work for a Republican when I worked in a law office. One of his campaign slurs was against "tree lovers". I threatened to quit over it. Eventually I was relieved of having to do the work, but I gave it more hours of my life than I signed on for when I accepted the job!

Captain Dumbass said...

Meh, I got nothing. Nice poem though.

Arron Shilling said...

Excellent textures inthis one brother. Smells like autumn "The mad chain saws....." from here on in i was wrapped. Brilliant delivery and some great ideas.

All the best

Maureen said...

What a visual image of desperation you create with the line about duct taping fallen leaves to bare limbs.

Charles Elliott/Beautyseer said...

A tree once told me that the most important things are the invisible ones -- winds, roots, water under ground. Things like that. And apparently it also is very important for trees to shed their leaves before the first snowfall. Judging by the trees that have been downed in New England lately by the early storm!

eclipsingwinter said...

Not everything can be fixed with duct tape, nor should it be. Greed destroys so much that either isn't or can't be replaced. I love that it ended with beauty of the written word.

Beth

Adura Ojo said...

Love the analogy between trees-love-humanity. And don't they say...some trees are as old as humanity itself, perhaps even older; therefore wiser(?)

I love this, Brian. A longish poem with every character, every aspect steeped in fine craft. Not easy to do. Very fine craft indeed.

Barbara Shallue said...

I love this - very Gibran-ish!

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"each ring earned inside tells a story,
let them enter your ear
in groaning utterance---
still
the mad chainsaws GroooWL
what is love?"


Hi! Brian...What a very beautiful descriptive poem...I really like your play on words...too!

I really love trees and I truly don't like when they are destroyed senselessly...too!

Thanks, for caring (about nature)and sharing (your beautiful poetic words)...too!
deedee ;-D

secret agent woman said...

Now there's a thought - I'm going to duct tape all the leaves back on.

sharplittlepencil said...

Brian, this really touched me. Your use of "kindling" and "re-kindling," very effective. You show so much empathy for nature, for the tree, for the heartbeat that mimics the sap running in the tree. Nature and human nature, together as one.

Bravo! Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/skin-like-a-cloak/

Kathy Bischoping said...

I have a smile for this, alas, nothing wiser.

colleen said...

Mine never rests with this questioning either. It's a moody season and your poem reflects that.

Heaven said...

i love the question at the start, images of raking leaves and cutting axe....then thoughtful message of pressing our ear to the tree ~

Fred said...

Love this piece. Great consistency of theme throughout, lots of neat play on words, and even play on the visual, as shown in the Cap of T in cut- nice job, thanks

Cheryl said...

I'm a tree hugger & this piece says it all.

Joanne Elliott said...

I've had trees on my mind this past day or so. Here's a quote I used on one my social media gigs pages:
"What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?"
- Pablo Neruda (and Neruda again...I'm jiving with Claudia, too I guess :-)

I love trees and I love how you layered love and trees in this poem with your social commentary.

pervagus said...

Beautiful poem Brian. I will never again pass by a pile of leaves burning without feeling the passing of a tree. I'm also so charmed with your take on answering what is love. Very apt, coming from a poet :-)

me_duress said...

There are so many layers to this one - and each thought intriguing!

davidallenpoet said...

Makes me mourn for my Okinawa home, where for 17 years I had trees that never lost their leaves and Fall was not as sad as it appears in my new home in Central Indiana.

Ravenblack said...

I imagine duct-tapping leaves back on a tree and that kinda made me laugh. I shouldn't, but that is just ridiculous act. I see the message there though. Once fallen is fallen, and such forced means to fix or reverse or stall doesn't do much good.

Love the overall poem. Trees develop into timeless ancients, symbols of growth and tenacity, seemingly keeping the earth's secrets. (There are people who study the ring of trees as you have referred to here.)

lookingforroots said...

One day not terribly long ago, I got to work and the tree I always park under was being chainsawed down. The crew looked really confused when I sat there and just cried. But...I used to watch that tree lose and grow leaves from my window upstairs. I parked under it in summer so the shade would help keep my car from being a sweltering shitbox...no a/c. Your poem here touched that tender nerve that still mourns for a parking lot tree sacrificed to the Great God Asphalt.

Fragrant Liar said...

Your poetry rivals the greats. I hope you're going to publish all these works, my friend.

Victoria said...

Brian...the title itself tells the story. Just brilliant and a scathing indictment of what we do to nature. (thanks for your help today)

She Writes said...

This is one of my favorites of yours. i especially love the final lines! Nicely done, Brian.

lori said...

This is beautiful, Brian. On my way to NC this weekend, it was if I was seeing the trees for the first time. Their colors were brilliant, and I couldn't get enough of them. Favorite part is,

"under the clouds, speak and then speak more,
each ring earned inside tells a story,
let them enter your ear
in groaning utterance---"

Oh, and the opening line, too. Yes, excellent opening line. You rock, as always :)

manicddaily said...

Love the contrasts here, duct tape to spiritual. K.

Josh Hoyt said...

Wow you amaze me. I love to read your poetry because it lets me imagine what ever I want to and still come back for more :)

Kamana said...

duct tape them back to limbs, ha! :)

Henry Clemmons said...

I love me some trees, and I love the comparisons. Excellent. Very well presented, great images, metaphors. Great write.

beckykilsby said...

oh Brian.. you tree-hugger you...that stanza is mesmerising... so glad I dropped in.. wonderful poetry...

adeeyoyo said...

Trees are live living beings, aged in hundreds of years. Respect should be their due... Lovely, Brian!

Divya said...

Powerful and moving loved so much of imagery.. when I was a child I would keep my ear at the tree's chest to hear its voice :) I so loved this line in your muse today

SueAnn said...

This had me thinking of a dark fall night with a full moon. And the bare trees outlined in it's pale silvery light!! Powerful and beautiful.
Loved your words and the celebration of trees!
Hugs
SueAnn

Lorraine said...

oh you wonderful writer, Love is never cutting a tree, Love is letting the leaves fall and not remove them as they provide ingredient foryour soil during the harsh winters...

Love is appreciating a writer who makes you feel everything ;)

jackie dick said...

How could anyone not love this poem, Brian! As a fellow tree hugger, I salute you! Yes we rape the land, the trees, nature, and yet the sap still runs! Bravo!

kez said...

I often think if trees could talk what a wiser world we would have ...loved this thank you for sharing x x x

Cressida de Nova said...

A hindi priest told me that tree murderers will have very bad karma that will not only affect themselves but all their progeny into future generations.I hope he's right! I'm putting a few curses of my own on them as well.
Crimes against trees should not go unpunished.

Mary said...

I love where you went with the concept of "love." As I look around at the trees around my home now, I am saddened by the gradual falling of their leaves. But thankfully, I don't see chainsaws. They will be back in full beauty next spring! very nice autumn write.

A said...

wow! You never cease to impress, challenge and provoke that writing spirit in me. I pray my pen never ceases and the winter proves to house the seeds that will flourish in the growing season. Well done Brian, not that I would expect less ;)

chromapoesy.com said...

This poem is so beautiful and works on many levels. Like Steve I saw it both as an environmental ethic and a commentary on human relationships.

Myrna R. said...

Trees. How we disrespect them. You're way of describing a good, honest, loving tree hug is wonderful.

kaykuala said...

Brian,
Read somewhere if you talk to the tree it'll grow better.Been putting fertilizers and it did't work. So talking must be true!

Hank

me said...

This section is incredible:

"Or duct tape them back to limbs in pale
pantomime to fairer seasons, pretending
the mockery, our reality?"

And oh the closing, this blows me away:
"a book, until framed in ink stained
fingerprints, pen never resting
in its writing"

Mark Kerstetter said...

Cool image - the tree as a never resting pen always writing. And what is it writing, but Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Sheila Moore said...

I couldn't help but think of The Giving Tree - love that book. beautiful poem here.

eclipseofthemoon said...

Great write, Brian...beutifully penned...(I have a special love for trees). The perfect ending lines

lifeisaroadtrip said...

O.M.G. I am not worthy. I have been reveling in Fall, trying to express how it makes me feel. Never would it have made me think like this. Brian, you are pure genius.

Goofball said...

so you oppose to leaves raking....tree trimming...your boys must have a ball in your wild garden :)

yellowhousecafe said...

A beautiful write...I love "press your ear to the tree's chest" sigh...I would love to hear its story, indeed. Perhaps if the rain stops and the sun warms us a bit, I will try this...I need an awakening, a new book to read~

Syd said...

I don't like to think about trees being cut. The timber beasts have been active out here. But if they give their life for books then that is a noble cause.

Zoe said...

Brian, I can feel this tree, every limb and every utterance of its bark. Your description of it, contrasted with the other options of what to do with such a tree, is where the power and poignancy of this poem comes from for me. Sigh. Perhaps my favourite poem from the last 6 months - and I have read an awful lot of poets in that time.

Broken Sparkles said...

Thanks for the tip about clearing my browser from cookies, it did help!
I read this poem twice yesterday and it's indeed a powerful read, after all the question "What love is?" has been in everyone's mind at least once. And connected to the fall and the trees, it does give a philosophical view, thought provoking ideas!

Shashi said...

Dear Brian
One of the most beautiful definition of love, I read... loved it.

"..but this, that this tree might be read and
re-read, a book, until framed in ink stained
fingerprints, pen never resting
in its writing."

Thanks for sharing such s lovely verse...

Shashi
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/11/whispers-fire-faayar-faayaar-dedicated.html

James Rainsford said...

Ah Brian. Trees! Some of my very favourite friends are trees, others, simply wooden. Great poem as usual.

somewhereamelody said...

When a native tribal medicine man of South America was asked how the people first learned to identify the trees and plants that could heal certain ailments he simply replied that the trees let the people know which parts of plants contained healing medicines!
I am an official unashamed tree hugger! I can't even bring myself to cut down an ash tree that is growing far to close to our house even though it's roots are probably having some fun with our foundations :)
This is some stunning poetry by the way :)

The Orange Tree said...

Trees give a lot, including providing air, but get little in return.

Hugging a tree is a way to respect and appreciate life's small blessings.

You are more than a tree, who would not want to stay close or be around you!

Keep standing tall,
you are loved, by all.

Kelly E said...

Brian - this is one of the best poems I've read in quite a while. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Anonymous said...

you are a true poet with multiple talents.

very sweet sentiments shared here.

hope that your mood stays this way every day.


bless you,
hope that all of your dreams come true!!!!

;)