Monday, November 30, 2009

This Tree Will Be Here for a Thousand Years

This slim book of poems taught me an important lesson in perspective. When I read it, I kind of just jumped in and started reading, and was disappointed to find the poems left me cold. Here's a short example:


There are fields of white roses

with prophets asleep in them --

I see their long black feet.

Each poem just seemed to be an observation of something he saw on the farm he lived on. It felt so flat, so lazy, so uncreative. After I finished the book, though, I went back and read the introduction, which I expected to be haughty and self-important. I was quite surprised to read a very humble message, where the poet explains that this book is an experiment for him -- that his goal was to unify outer experiences he had on the farm with inner feelings he had at the same time, even though those things might not be connected in an obvious way. When I understood his goal, suddenly the poems made sense, and their simple beauty became clear.

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