NaPoWriMo – Day 29

For the penultimate day of National Poetry Month, I used the prompt to write a response to a Sylvia Plath poem. Mine is not so much a response, as a stream of consciousness something-or-other that came from the line “Where do the black trees go that drink here?” from Plath’s poem “Crossing the Water.”

Image result for image bare branches

Black Trees

In a gift shop, I tell my friend about my recent obsession with bare branches.

I want to possess them in paintings, necklaces, a metal wall sculpture.
It’s the bud of spring here, and the trees are betraying this admiration.
Abandoning their minimalist life for something with more promise.
The birds, of course, rejoice, but it’s harder to see them in an elm, full plumage.
Harder to watch the small red chest of the robin shrink and puff just before he offers his melodic warble.
I imagine the solitude of a forest, fresh from a fire. Destroyer, perhaps, but purifier too.

It takes years before those charred, naked sticks are overtaken by new growth.

So many years, I could forget how to drink that stark beauty.


PAD Challenge – Day 3


poplar hoar frost

I’ve got a prompt meld going on today between the Poetic Asides suggestion to write a Three _____ poem, and the This Is Not A Literary Journal challenge to “write what the trees know,”¬† Here’s what grew:

Three Things Our Poplar Tree Knows


That when hoar frost swaddles

its bald branches, the day will be

defined by silence. Words we’ve used

so often to sting, turn soft and

crystalline on our tongues.


That the damp cloak of decayed leaves

still draped on the grass at the start of

spring, will smell both fetid and fresh.

The contrast and symmetry that used

to define us.


That its softening middle, the spongy

bend of boughs once strong and rigid,

are not reasons to mourn. Heart rot,

a harsh name for the feeling inside:

change. Touch the caramel-coloured

conks embellishing its trunk.

Listen when it tells us

the great  beauty of loss

is clarity.


The tree prompt made me think of Trees by Bliss Carman. I, too, am in praise of “goodly trees in the springing sod.”

Lastly, the NaPoWriMo site suggests a fan letter poem to a celebrity. I’ve composed many gushing letters in my brain to Trent Reznor, but never attempted to put them to paper. Perhaps a project for this afternoon….whilst listening to NIN, of course.