Saturday, November 19, 2016

Trees

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Tree At My Window
by Robert Frost
Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.

Vague dream head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.

But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.

That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
by John Williams





The Trees are Down


BY Charlotte Mew

And he cried with a loud voice: 
Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees—
 
(Revelation)
 

They are cutting down the great plane-trees at the end of the gardens. 
For days there has been the grate of the saw, the swish of the branches as they fall, 
The crash of the trunks, the rustle of trodden leaves, 
With the ‘Whoops’ and the ‘Whoas,’ the loud common talk, the loud common laughs of the men, above it all. 

I remember one evening of a long past Spring 
Turning in at a gate, getting out of a cart, and finding a large dead rat in the mud of the drive. 
I remember thinking: alive or dead, a rat was a god-forsaken thing, 
But at least, in May, that even a rat should be alive. 

The week’s work here is as good as done. There is just one bough 
   On the roped bole, in the fine grey rain, 
             Green and high 
             And lonely against the sky. 
                   (Down now!—) 
             And but for that,   
             If an old dead rat 
Did once, for a moment, unmake the Spring, I might never have thought of him again. 

It is not for a moment the Spring is unmade to-day; 
These were great trees, it was in them from root to stem: 
When the men with the ‘Whoops’ and the ‘Whoas’ have carted the whole of the whispering loveliness away 
Half the Spring, for me, will have gone with them. 

It is going now, and my heart has been struck with the hearts of the planes; 
Half my life it has beat with these, in the sun, in the rains,    
             In the March wind, the May breeze, 
In the great gales that came over to them across the roofs from the great seas. 
             There was only a quiet rain when they were dying; 
             They must have heard the sparrows flying,   
And the small creeping creatures in the earth where they were lying— 
             But I, all day, I heard an angel crying: 
             ‘Hurt not the trees.’

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Trees by Jean Sibelius





Native Trees


BY W. S. Merwin
Neither my father nor my mother knew 
the names of the trees 
where I was born 
what is that 
I asked and my 
father and mother did not 
hear they did not look where I pointed 
surfaces of furniture held 
the attention of their fingers 
and across the room they could watch 
walls they had forgotten 
where there were no questions 
no voices and no shade 

Were there trees 
where they were children 
where I had not been 
I asked 
were there trees in those places 
where my father and my mother were born 
and in that time did 
my father and my mother see them 
and when they said yes it meant 
they did not remember 
What were they I asked what were they 
but both my father and my mother 
said they never knew

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata for Harp and Guitar by Alan Hovhaness



Landscape, Dense with Trees


BY Ellen Bryan Voigt
When you move away, you see how much depends 
on the pace of the days—how much 
depended on the haze we waded through 
each summer, visible heat, wavy and discursive 
as the lazy track of the snake in the dusty road; 
and on the habit in town of porches thatched in vines, 
and in the country long dense promenades, the way 
we sacrificed the yards to shade. 
It was partly the heat that made my father 
plant so many trees—two maples marking the site 
for the house, two elms on either side when it was done; 
mimosa by the fence, and as it failed, fast-growing chestnuts, 
loblolly pines; and dogwood, redbud, ornamental crab. 
On the farm, everything else he grew 
something could eat, but this 
would be a permanent mark of his industry, 
a glade established in the open field. Or so it seemed. 
Looking back at the empty house from across the hill, 
I see how well the house is camouflaged, see how 
that porous fence of saplings, their later 
scrim of foliage, thickened around it, 
and still he chinked and mortared, planting more. 
Last summer, although he’d lost all tolerance for heat, 
he backed the truck in at the family grave 
and stood in the truckbed all afternoon, pruning 
the landmark oak, repairing recent damage by a wind; 
then he came home and hung a swing 
in one of the horse-chestnuts for my visit. 
The heat was a hand at his throat, 
a fist to his weak heart. But it made a triumph 
of the cooler air inside, in the bedroom, 
in the maple bedstead where he slept, 
in the brick house nearly swamped by leaves.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata for Clarinet, Cello & Piano by Rick Sowash




The Tree at Frost’s Window Replies

by Evelyn Hooven 

“Not all your light tongues talking aloud 
Could be profound.  .  .”

(from Robert Frost’s “Tree at My Window”)

You don’t know me very well—
You think you’re someone special
To relate to me at all,
But you’ve really no notion
Of what it is to be me,
Not of my motion,
You think me still
Secure and trivial
Compared with you
Though I’ve lived longer—
Through birth, blight
And deepest winter
Where just the lasting makes
A kind of stature.
I may lose and recover
More than you dream
Though to you I seem
A simple tree
To fasten your fancy on
And generous you
To lift the sash
Compare heads
And concentrate on me,
Refusing to sentimentalize,
Also refusing to see
Some wisdom that’s my own.
A blight or axe
Might strike me down
But I can live on rain—
When you go, I’ll stand.
I thrive on nature’s silence,
You talk to fill the void.
This motion of mine
Is no dumb wind
                              but laughter.  .  .

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Three Capriccios by Evaristo Dall'Abaco

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