Poem of the Week, by Joshua Poteat

This poem awes me every time I read it. It floats me up above the earth and outside of time and noise and sensation while thousands of years of humans and our endless struggles against ourselves and the planet play themselves out below. We cut down our forests to make ships on the seas, the seas rise against us, the whole tide of history washes in and over and out.

Sixteen words! The wild power of poetry. And now I’m laughing, because look how much longer this little backstory is than the poem itself.

Tintype, by Joshua Poteat

Whole forests went to sea
                        disguised as ships.

         Whole seas went to forest
                        disguised as time.

For more information on Joshua Poteat, please click here.


Words by Winter: my podcast

Poem of the Week, by Marie Howe

991DA27A-58E0-41E4-87E6-9CA5515E0597Last week I was weeding my garden on a steambath afternoon when clouds tiered overhead, the air turned greenish, and a breeze sprang up. There’s a tall pine tree in my tiny front yard, with limbs that sweep down to earth, and when the first drops splatted down, I stepped inside them to watch the storm.

As a child I built a platform in the giant maple tree by the side of the road, accessible by a rope no one but me could climb. I used to stay up there for hours, reading and thinking in the crook of the tree. At one point I carved my initials into the biggest limb   –   A   R   M.   Over time, a decade or two, the tree puffed itself around the wound and healed itself. 

Trees talk to one another through their roots. Trees of the same species will share water and food. All trees in a forest are interconnected. They shelter one another, the way the tree in my front yard shelters me. 


The Copper Beech, by Marie Howe

Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,

with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where

I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.

One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.

Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,

watching it happen without it happening to me.




For more information about Marie Howe, please check out her website.

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Poem of the Week, by Tina Kelley

Sometimes I lie in the hammock at my shack in Vermont and look up –way up– at the two white pines it’s roped between. One of those white pines is so huge that it scares my friend. She thinks it holds too much power, like a keeper of the gates, but that’s what I like about it. Trees, trees, trees and me go way back. All the mountains I’ve hiked up, where the trees get shorter and spindlier until they disappear, and there’s nothing but the sky and rock and you. Once, I beheld a gray owl on a tree limb. I tilted my head left, the better to take him in, and so did he. I tilted right, and  so did he. We stood that way for a long time, regarding each other. There could be worse things than being descended from trees.

Having Evolved From Trees
– Tina Kelley
We are hazel-eyed.
Some things we are certain of:
Sun in the forest adds extra rooms.

We hide inner twisting under our skin.
A beehive within is a blessing.
Never play with matches. Ever.

We teach: to bloom, to fruit, to peel,
to heal in a swirling burl,
to suffer pruning silently.

We remember the itch of chickadees,
blue air of twilight like a shawl,
the liquor it resembles. We taste with whole selves.

Our women are never too stocky, don’t diet.
Our day — dressing, bedding down — is a year.
At weddings we wear wrensong tatting in our hair.

We converse in the pulses of rained-on leaves.
Our god is wind. We need no heartbeat.
We worship by swaying, masts in a marina.

Our low song, too low, withers and flaps.
We sanctify the privilege of embrace,
of running, the afterlife of dance.

The sun pulls life through us,
up and flaring, a yellow scarf
from a magic tube, higher, wider.

We die with loved ones, rot in their presence,
nourish their offspring and watch
the continuance, ever, exulting.

​For more information on Tina Kelley, please click ​here.

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