Wednesday, February 12, 2014

John Tagliabue: "The Bare Arms of Trees"

Sometimes when I see the bare arms of trees in the evening
I think of men who have died without love,
Of desolation and space between branch and branch.
I think of immovable whiteness and lean coldness and fear
And the terrible longing between people stretched apart as these branches
And the cold space between.
I think of the vastness and courage between this step and that step,
Of the yearning and the fear of the meeting, of the terrible desire held apart.
I think of the ocean of longing that moves between land and land
And between people, the space and ocean.
The bare arms of the trees are immovable, without the play of leaves,
     without the sound of wind;
I think of the unseen love and the unknown thoughts that exist
      between tree and tree,
As I pass these things in the evening, as I walk.

"The Bare Arms of Trees" by John Tagliabue, from New & Selected Poems: 1942-1997. © National Poetry Foundation, 1998.

Photography credit: "Bare Branches (2)," by Brian Angell, 2012 (originally color).


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