Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grace Paley

Grace Paley’s last book of poetry, Fidelity, describes some trees that are torn in half by hurricanes yet new growth occurs.


To have lived long enough
and not too far from the dying
of a couple of ancient trees
the high leaf and flowering
above broken arms to have known
one great tree full and sturdy
then in my own years
the arbitrary swords of sunscald
lightning scar scab rot

in the woods behind our house
uprooted storm-thrown hemlock
(hurricane of 'thirty-eight) a humped
and heaving graveyard do you see that

it's good in one ordinary life
to have witnessed the hard labor
of a long death the way one
high branch can still advance alone pale green
and greener into the sun's
nutritious light

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