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Friday, September 30, 2011

Poem: Solitary tree

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Solitary tree

Do you feel yourself
standing on the platform of the earth
served up as if for my pleasure alone?

Alone, yet not lonely,
happy in the sunrise, or shining
in sheets of rain, you wait again
for the warbler to sing.

Patiently, you hold her
in your quiet branches,
where she sits or flits, free
in an improvisation of notes
high and low, never touched
twice the same.



Poetry should be heard.
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44 comments:

Stratoz said...

any poem with a warbler is good in my book ;') I am thinking about having my independent biology student read this in his next assignment.

Thanks for celebrating a tree.

Elisabeth said...

There is an Australian novel by a man named Murray Bail, called Eucalyptus. It's a literary love story in which the man who wins the hand of the farmer's daughter must be able to identify every single variety of eucalypt that stands on the farmer's vast property. Each eucalypt identified shares a story.

It's a wonderful book and your poem for some strange reason reminds me of it.

I can think of no better compliment to your words here, Ruth. Thank you.

erin said...

who is touched, the tree by the notes, the tree by the warbler, the bird by the tree, us by it all? all of us, of course, never the same twice.

i do think the question of lonliness is always only our own. the tree is beyond lonliness. (as you respond, alone, yet not lonely.)

a beautiful moving image. just last night i went to the countryside to take pictures of the trees. i found myself more often than not taking pictures of solitary ones instead of the wild fall crush of landscape.

xo
erin

Montag said...

This focus on the tree's own interior life in the first stanza is very compelling.

What indeed does a tree feel and care about your observation? Interesting.

Louise Gallagher said...

"where she slits or flits"

love it!

The photo is beautiful. There is such life and whimsy in it -- which is matched by your words.

A delightful morning read.

On a sunny fall day like today promises to be, I shall be carrying your notes within me -- where ever I sit or flit.

Grandmother said...

This tree is our teacher. We would witness miracles like the warbler, too, if we learned from her.

hedgewitch said...

You give us here the essence of a tree as microcosm of a caring lifeforce that is one of both tender consistency and infinite variety. It may be a bit of anthropomorphism, but I always tend to see personalities in trees--and not just the scary faces and clutching arms of fairytales, or wisdom and resolve of Ents. Trees have many faces. Lovely poem--now I'm going to feel bad when I go out pruning this winter. ;_)

Loring Wirbel said...

Bravo!! Love the last stanza in particular. Be the tree.

missing moments said...

Oh, I can see that tree, standing there in all her beauty.

Nelson said...

...."on the platform of the earth" the tree stands, here in a meadow....

Yes, the tree belongs to the earth, as does the meadow. I wonder how the meadow feels about herself, extending outward from the tree, holding it up for us to behold.

I like your photo image, how the stalks of grass connect us to the tree.

Arti said...

The photo is beautiful, like a Monet painting. Did you take it like that or have you done some editing to make it so? I like your experimenting spirit, looking from new perspectives. The color is what I've been fortunate to behold these past weeks, golden everywhere. Your voice reading poetry is always a pleasure to hear. Thank you.

Barb said...

Your image and words remind me of an aspen tree we saw yesterday standing alone like a yellow feather on top of the hill. Your photos is full of fall's changing hues.

ds said...

I agree with Arti, your photograph is just like an Impressionist painting.
And the tree: upheld by the earth, upholding the warbler, freeing her to sing her song
never touched
twice the same.

Uplifting us. Beyond loneliness, yes, and so much more...
Thank you.

Ed Pilolla said...

i feel a simple pleasure of nature here, the magic in the moment that cannot be duplicated. what an elegant end.

Ruth said...

Stratoz, thank you so much for maybe sharing this warble with your biology student.

Do you think I am overly self-absorbed to think the tree exists for me?

Ruth said...

Elisabeth, that's a great conceit for a novel, and I am already working it out in my head. 'Course the man wants a farmer for his daughter, not some clever memorizer. I feel washed with this story and want to be more authentic as a result. Thank you for your kind compliment for this simple poem.

Ruth said...

Dear erin, once again we channel one another . . . or the trees are channeling us.

Yes, loneliness is our own thought and feeling. I see myself feeling differently any given day about the same circumstances. What can that be, except my own thoughts and feelings?

Your photo of the solitary tree is hauntingly beautiful.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Montag. Maybe I take tree sentience too far, but I do feel that they are sentient.

Ruth said...

Louise, thank you for your exuberant response to this little poem. I hope you have a beautiful autumn weekend. It is blustery and rainy here, a good day to stay indoors, but that is not meant to be for me.

Ruth said...

Mary, thank you, I like what you said. It makes me think how so much of learning is someone giving us an environment for it, safety, security, trust.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Hedge. I believe in the sentience of trees, and I have some very good tree mothers (and one father).

But we, too, must prune the wedding plum. And she will be grateful for it, I believe. :-)

Ruth said...

Thanks, Loring!

Ruth said...

Reena, thanks for looking and reading.

Ruth said...

Nelson, your good comment speaks to the importance of all the parts. How could the tree stand, without the meadow? She couldn't, any more than the warbler can perch without a tree. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Arti, the colors are very rich here this year too. I shot this scene two years ago, one of the times I have stopped the car on my way to or from work. It was raining hard, and this is the way the photo came out of the camera, except that I punched up the color and vibrancy a tad in LightRoom. It's like Monet got channeled through the camera sensor. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Barb, that's a beautiful image. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Thank you, ds. As I told Arti, the photo came out like this, with its painterly effect. Something about the rain, the light, the wind gave it motion. I so appreciate your kind visit.

Ruth said...

Welcome and thank you, Ed. I like your phrase the magic in the moment that cannot be duplicated. Yes.

Stratoz said...

"Do you think I am overly self-absorbed to think the tree exists for me?" I will include that question to the student's HW. Awareness belongs to us and if the tree is willingly allowing you to be with it, then no. You were absorbed with creation not with yourself

Heather said...

Dear Ruth: I am striving to be the tree--the perfection of being alone. But I do love that warbler, too. Nice to hear you read it aloud.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Beautiful poem, Ruth!
Love the words: Alone, yet not lonely.

Have a pleasant weekend.

Jeanie said...

This hits me perfectly today! Just for me! A few weeks ago I was leaving Olin after an EAP counseling session and heading home. I cut down the street where I grew up -- Sunset Lane (doesn't that sound perfect? I never noticed a sunset from there!) Anyway, I was feeling pretty awful and as I went down the street, I saw a house and the whole yard was zinnias. I mean -- no grass. Just flowers. At that point, they were still in full bloom, a blaze of color and life and energy. And I felt they were there just for me. That someone had torn our their yard, individually planted each little annual and nurtured it so that when I passed by on a bad day, it would be there for me. I should send them a thank you note. I can tell--your tree brought you that same feeling.

George said...

Again, there are many layers of this poem for me. The words that resonate most deeply with me, however, are those that speak of being "alone, yet not lonely, happy in sunrise, or shining in sheets of rain . . ." I have been there, I am there, and there I will be.

I also like the expressive photo. It's one of those images that calls upon the eye to dance with it.

Oliag said...

There is that jazz improvisation again!

Wonderful poem Ruth...

Marcie said...

Such a beautiful ode to the singular ever-changing tree. Love this!!!

Ruth said...

Stratoz, thank you for your wonderful answer.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Heather. There's a spectrum, and while we might have preferences along it, it's good music when you can slide along the strings flexibly.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Sonia, I appreciate your time and visit.

Ruth said...

Jeanie, what you describe is the perfection of your awareness meeting the gift that was given. This is the best kind of "taking everything personally"—making it my own.

Ruth said...

George, thanks for how you connect with my poem, but even more, thanks for how you connect with the earth and find spiritual renewal in her. And thanks to your eye for dancing with the photo, which doesn't seem to stop moving, does it?

Ruth said...

Oliag, improvisation is calling, busting down structures and expectations. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Marcie, I'm glad you came and read and loved my poem. Thanks so much!

Ginnie said...

The interconnectedness of us all, needing each other, feeding off of each other! This is us becoming One.

jen revved said...

Your work absolutely takes my breath away, it is so keenly and finely drawn-- I think, I am too elaborate. I invite you to read my latest Rilke invitation, Ruth, and to tell you that I have been working on a collection of these I'd like to share w/ you and Larry at some point... a few are under submission in the fall surge and we shall see! xxxj