Oct 28 2009

Conversations with Trees

So one day North Carolina poet Laura Hope-Gill was wandering around the Internet and she came across the Blue Ridge photographs of Asheville photographer John Fletcher.  She was so moved by what she saw she sat down and wrote poems about each of them, right then and there. Then she emailed the poems to Fletcher (and what a gift that must have been to find in his inbox the next morning). He sent her more photos. She wrote more poems. And naturally, like grass growing tall in the summer, the poems and the photos came together to become a book.


The tree said to the sunlight:
How is it I do not grow tired?

The sun said to the evergreen:
You are what I turn into

When I want to touch the earth.

The Soul Tree ended up as an Okra Pick from Southern indie booksellers, despite its list price of $49.95. (We used soy ink and environmentally-friendly printing methods, said the author, because we couldn’t do a book celebrating nature and destroy it in the process). But what I like about the poems is their immediacy, against the eternal feeling of mountains and old trees.

Oct 14 2009

from A River Dies of Thirst (p.59)

A River Dies of Thirst, Mahmoud Darwish

A River Dies of Thirst, Mahmoud Darwish

Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed by life, I’ll pick up random books from my shelves and open them to random pages.  It’s a habit I’ve had since I was a very young girl and I’m sorry to say that it originally came from reading Richard Bach’s Illuminations. But now, I’m not looking for messages from the universe. It is more like having a mental reset button, or seeking a change of internal scenery. If I’m lucky, I’ll breathe in the words, and life will be a little bit different when I look back up from the page. If that happens, I’ll post it here.

Summer and winter

There is nothing new. The seasons here are two:
a summer as long as a far away minaret
and a winter like a nun praying
As for spring
it cannot stop
except to say: ‘Greetings to you
on Ascension Day’
While autumn
is merely a place of seclusion
in which to contemplate how much of our life we have lost
on the return journey
‘Where did we leave our life behind?’ I asked the butterfly
circling around in the light
and it burnt up in its tears.

-Mahmoud Darwish, A River Dies of Thirst (Archipelago Books, 2009)