Today's poem is by June Beisch
In Muir Woods
Last night, a giant redwood fell
either from old age, disease, or
"sometimes they just give up," the ranger said.
Listen, I was in the woods, I
heard it too, like my own death
falling inside me.
Here in the last of the old growth forests
where some trees are still virginal,
some older than Moses,
I thought, then, of you. You are not the one
dying, you said to me,
and I quoted to you from Montaigne
that death was not a proper object of fear
but only the end of life.
What is a proper object of fear, you asked,
and I said death of the heart.
But life, you said, was
everything. And you were in love
with that beautiful lie.
Sometimes these trees send out
all their sap at once
making them vulnerable, sometimes,
they grow burls of anxiety
Look, the ranger said to us,
the bark is so wet because the tree
drinks hundreds of gallons of water a day
from the fog that rolls in
over the Golden Gate Bridge.
That bridge which is so beautiful and which
holds such promise for tomorrow
with its blue shimmering bay.
Every day when I see the fog now,
I think of you and then I can almost
feel the fog cover me with
that enveloping mist, can almost feel
the branches of the redwood
being kissed by its cold
ministrations. I would, if I could,
stand here all day like these trees, but my
heart is so sore, it is almost ready to burst,
and I am filled, suddenly,
with a wild and insatiable thirst.
Copyright © 2006 June Beisch All rights reserved
from Harvard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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