On Falling (Blue Spruce)

Joanna Klink

Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised. 

Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds

arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,

ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it became

unknowable. Every day
of my life now I cannot
understand. The force

of dual winds lifting
ninety years of stillness
as if it were nothing,

as if it hadn’t held every
crow and fog, emptying
night from its branches. 

The needles fell. The pinecones
dropped every hour
on my porch, a constant

irritation. It is enough
that we crave objects,
that we are always

looking for a way
out of pain. What is beyond
task and future sits right

before us, endlessly
worthy. I have planted
a linden, with its delicate

clean angles, on a plot
one tenth the size. Some change
is too great. 

Somewhere there is a field,
white and quiet, where a tree
like this one stands,

made entirely of
hovering. Nothing will
hold me up like that again.
 

More by Joanna Klink

Given

And I carried to that emptiness
between us the birds
that had been calling out

           all night.  I carried an old
              bicycle, a warm meal,
              some time to talk. 

I would have brought
them to you sooner
but was afraid your own

              hopelessness would keep you
              crouched there.  If you spring up,
              let it not be against me

but like a weed or a
fountain.  I grant you
the hard spine of your

              childhood.  I grant you
              the frowning arc of this morning.
              If I could I would grant you

a bright throat and even
brighter eyes, this whole hill
of olive trees, its

              calmness of purpose.
              Let me not forget
              ever what I owe you.

I have loved the love
you felt for those gardens
and I would grant you

              the always steadying
              presence of seeds. 
              I bring to that trouble

between us a bell that might
blur into air.  I bring the woods
and a sense of what lives there.

              Like you, I turn to sunlight for
              answers.  Like you, I am
              not sure where it has gone.
 

 

from "3 Bewildered Landscapes”


STARS, SCATTERSTILL. Constellations of people and quiet. 

Those nights when nothing catches, nothing also is artless. 

I walked for hours in those forests, my legs a canvas of scratches,

trading on the old hopes—we were meant to be lost. But being lost

means not knowing what it means. Inside the meadow is the grass,

rich with darkness. Inside the grass is the wish to be rooted, inside the rain

the wish to dissolve. What you think you live for you may not live for. 

One star goes out. One breath lifts inside a crow inside a field.

Related Poems

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,--

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.