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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