Monday, July 18, 2011


I've been thinking about what makes a poet a poet. Well, his mother. And before that, his father. And before that the twinkle in his mother's eye. But once the poet is up and running, how does the poet know that the poet is a poet?

 Chewing on this bit...the poet discovers it is a poet when it gets wounded. Many kinds of wounds. Beauty can wound. A wounded poet bleeds poetry. 

                                                            poet wounded
                                                            poet bleed

 There is an old Turkish saying, "I have a problem, and I would not trade it for a thousand solutions".

I posted the image of this tree before, but now it has a new raison d'ĂȘtre. This painting was an obsession, a problem for me. But I did not want it to go away. It was my therapy for many years. I dabbed a daub of paint here and there, then put it away. Months later, bring it out and bend a branch. Put away. Get out. Put away. Until I finally had to let it go.

Now my friend and poet, Mary Bradley has written a poem about it. 

Waiting for Springtime in the House of Leaves

The wind

           that’s mourned for weeks beneath the eaves
           and blustered, drifting snow on wet dark earth —

is hushed.

In dusty rooms

          the silence settles like a solid thing,
          until I’m wild to leave the house.
          and walk in air that’s brisk and bright,

          to roam the ancient woods above a surf raked bay
          and listen to the distant drumming of the sea,
          and search for shoots of hyacinth among the trees.

In dwindling light of day,

          a ghostly moon is rising, soft as smoke,
          among colossal branches of a stately oak
          that stands as it has always stood upon the shoulders of the world
          —grown tall and greatly patient, darkly beautiful and good.

And in the tree’s unhurried heart,

         concentric memories of a hundred years—

         the blur of wings, tranquility of clouds,
         the sweetness of a summers’ temperate rain,

         the blaze of living canopies gone red and gold,
         the brand of lightening’s kiss along its grain.

If only I could be a child again,
alive in fairytales of simpler times,

         I would not leave,
         but stepping through its bright enchanted door,
         would climb an inner stairway to the topmost branch
         and fall asleep,

dreaming the restful dreams of gentle trees,
waiting for springtime in the house of leaves.

--Mary Bradley
c. 2011


i, chihuahua said...

your tree is beautiful, branches wending and unwinding in the mazey thicket of it's deeper self to find and breathe the sky. give me air and dappled sunlight, it says to me, and i withstand the wildest weather. the leaves are all there already, they are only still inside, waiting to be born again. like all of us, with every hurt and hope and new day, we try the doors again to at last gain and pass the threshold.

thanks for your tree. it is inspiring!

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thank you for those words, Karen. Beautifully said. I appreciate the reminder that with each new day we may "try the doors again to at last gain and pass the threshold". I really needed that today.

Kat_RN said...

I love your tree!

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

I have only just stumbled my way here via '5 precious things'and I'm so glad I came. Your tree painting is just so fantastic, I would love to be able to paint like this! And then I read your posting and Mary Bradley's poem and was transported, thank you so much.

I hope you have a great week-end, kind regards,


Jason Pruett said...

I especially like the cropped in bits. Those are complete works of art on their own. All together, this tree is epic. Epic.