I’ll try to write this in your terse speech
Upon the skin of my kin you call paper
Such a small word for the crushed pulp
Of my people. There is nothing in that word
Of the books you make of it, nor
How it is the vessel of your moments.
Nor the majesty that stood centuries
Rooted like we are in the sky,
Nose to the ground.

But these small words of yours are upside down
And backwards. It’s our branches that hold
Us fast in spirit. The matted whiskerbeard
Is what keeps us kissing the earth. The
Parts and the meaning are entwined.
The same, and not. But where was I?

In this poem of a time that ticks
In trees long perception.
What persists, what appears
In one moment, gone the next
Like deer

Most of us sleep all winter
A trick we taught the bear-clan people
Winter is as night in treetime

And the thing you call summer
We call day, in our language.
We hardly notice the strobe
Of that thing you use that word for…

If you want to see the world
As we see it, sit. Be still.
Stop tricking yourselves
With your movie-reel motion.

Though in this too, like poems
Is a truth that is not present.
Moments, when strung together
Never become water.
I know that river
It licked my toes once
Egged on by angry thunderheads

There are some poems that
Can only be discerned at night
Then their words swell and ripen
Their bitter meaning sound sweet.
This I hear in the sigh and creak of branches

Sit in darkened rooms
Run the wheels at breakneck pace
Love the lie of video.

Or if you dare, and can find out how,
Slow the footage and you’ll come to know
Each moment is its own now.

20190403 a prompt to slow the pace, take some time. I think that trees must have a very different perception of how quick or slow things go. prompt to write about poetry and writing. Surely poetry is the only way we can hint at understanding anything outside of us. Or inside for that matter.

10 thoughts on “Treetime

  1. Wow! That’s a challenge, a dare, one hard to ignore. I just finished reading Overstory by Powers. Did we talk about this before? Your poem could preface it. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed the way you made the words rustle in this piece: the alliteration of treetime, the imagery of “crushed pulp / Of my people” and that last verse of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eric, this is so, SO good.
    “Moments, when strung together
    Never become water.”

    But most especially:
    “The matted whiskerbeard
    Is what keeps us kissing the earth.”


    Liked by 1 person

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