Today's poem is by Eleanor Wilner

Larger to Those Who Stay

After the blight, the year
when the pines had succumbed
and the once-green air grew gray
with sawdust from the teeth
of steel that gnawed the dead trees
down—that year the exodus
began. For weeks departure
clogged the roads; they left in droves,
unable to bear for long the bareness
and the lack of shade—the way the sun
beat down on the iron griddle
of the ground; the way the wind,
without the pines to play, had grown
silent, moving across the empty
land, like a hand on an unstrung harp.

But for those of us who stayed, the absence
of the trees grew larger, and with it,
the sky, which began its vast retreat
into the past, light years away. Like the dark
matter of the universe that can't be seen
or known except by its effects,
the absence of the pines
changed the shape of things,
and like the distant stars, the galaxies,
whose speed defies the laws of gravity,
and inexplicably increases as they disappear
from view, the empty groves began to grow
from some dark energy, defying even
the laws of friction in the local air:
the swing you stop pushing slows down.

Old and forgetful now, we walk
in the green blur of the missing pines,
and the wind plays again in the lost
branches, where the fallen nests hang,
and the unborn birds—my god, how they sang.

Copyright © 2005 Eleanor Wilner All rights reserved
from The Kenyon Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Monthly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Publications Noted & Received  

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved