|Your host is Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
at Today's Little Ditty. Stop by TLD
for all of this week's poetry links.
This week, there was a story in the news that settled down in mind to sit. I don't know what it will lead to -- a poem, an idea for a story -- but I want to know more about the young man whose skeleton was part of a tree.
|Read about it at io9.
For me, the news isn't just about a skeleton. Part of the story's pull is the storm powerful enough to uproot a tree. I have deep memories of just such a storm, a hurricane, that blew through our town when I was in second grade. Trees were uprooted in our yard. It was a wonder to see the exposed roots in all of their complicated tangle. And what a gift to me and my brothers -- where the rain filled in the hole at the base of the tree, there were tiny ponds to play in.
In a lightning strike of serendipity, I've been reading GOOD WITH ORANGES (Broadkill River Press) this week. It is a collection of poems by my friend Sid Gold.
|Order the book
at Broadkill River Press.
by Sid Gold
The other night a storm
buzzsawed through & brought down
that 40-foot beech with a crack
like a hammer & chisel carving stone.
A spear of lightning struck it
near ground level, splitting the trunk
along its height like a gutting knife
& now the limbs lay splayed
& bleaching like some monstrous skeleton,
the bones, perhaps, of an untold constellation.
Soon a work crew will arrive, men
of clear intent carrying chains & saws
like briefcases, their tongues
still sour with sleep. Hired for a task
of someone else's choosing, they may
have room for nonsense in their hearts,
but have learned to keep it close
while on someone else's clock.
That towering beech, some of us
surely believe, still had much to say
about things for which we often
cannot find the proper words.
Others, living in some other moment,
prefer to turn a deaf ear.
About this poem, Sid explains, "I live in an aging apt. complex (1943), which, I'm told, displaced untouched forest land. The buildings are old enough to have been the products of architects, who designed the layout of the property so as to allow for a number of original growth trees to grace the lawns fronting the building entrances. Unfortunately, a few years ago, two large, very old & diseased trees positioned not far from my own entranceway had to be cut down & limbs & pieces of their trunks, etc., lay on the lawn for some days until carted away. One of the trees was struck by lighting & some heavy limbs came down. That's probably how the disease was discovered. There's more to the poem, of course, but that's one place it started. I have photos of the trees, luckily, but I still miss them."
Sid Gold's third book is GOOD WITH ORANGES (Broadkill River Press, 2015). He is a two-time recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in journal such as Poet Lore, the Southern Poetry Review and Tar River Poetry. A native New Yorker, he lives in Hyattsville MD.
Sid is very active in my local literary community -- a mentor to and encourager of his fellow poets. You can read a full interview with Sid Gold at Delphi Quarterly.
Thank you, Sid, for allowing me to share this poem today. I'm still thinking about that skeleton.