Saturday, August 9, 2008


Too much rain
loosens trees.
In the hills giant oaks
fall upon their knees.
You can touch parts
you have no right to—
places only birds
should fly to.

- “Crown” by Kay Ryan (born 1945) American poet and educator. Last month, the Library of Congress announced that she will be the sixteenth Poet Laureate of the United States, and rightly so. Her work is simple, minimal, beautiful. Thanks, Karen.


Beverly said...

Awwwwwwwww... Are you getting a lot of rain? The monsoons have hit (finally) and sometimes our parched earth can't drink fast enough...we've had mudslides.

The poem is a tiny story; an intimate story, that nearly made me cry for the visual image.

I'm sure you know of Ursula Le Guin; her story about the tree in the short story collection called "Buffalo Gals, and Other Animal Presences" will put a smile right back on your face!

Beverly said...

Well, I could not get to her book that I have packed away in some box (I’m still working on my house), but I found it online. The short story is “The Direction of the Road” and also appears in her book The Wind’s Twelve Quarters.

It is a rich and ironic story, quite entertaining I might add. This is what one site had to say about it:

The Direction of the Road: Mrs. Le Guin herself has pointed out her obsession with trees, and in this story a tree takes the leading role. It is a monologue held by an old oak tree, which tells us about how it strives to uphold the Order of Things. After all, it has a lot to do: growing and looming high over anybody who passes it by, and then diminishing again until the spectator is gone...

It's a hoot and has stuck with me for years...

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Hello again Beverly.

We have certainly had more rain than last summer. But we are still over two inches below a normal year. I live on the edge of a 300-acre woods, so I look out on lots and lots of trees: mostly oaks and hickories. Every now and then, one of the big ones fall; it's quite dramatic.

Yes, I know Ursula Le Guin. Her "Left Hand of Darkness" is one of my favorite scifi novels, but I do not know the story you mentioned. I'll have to look it up.

Stay dry. Thanks for reading.

Stephen Lyn