The Friday Poem on 20/05/22
We chose ‘Folio’ by Sharon Black to be our Friday Poem this week because we love its tone — so careful and considered and curious and open — and the way Black plays with imagery, developing the motif of the poem in different directions, but always searching for an underlying truth. The poet seems to merge with the leaf, the tree, and the canopy, and surely there’s a suggestion that we are all connected, and that we all, ultimately, become one. It’s evocative and haunting and we like it a lot.
after a photograph by Álvaro Alejandro
Hard to tell if these are my words
on wood pulp pressed to paper
or the tree’s own testimony.
Take this fallen leaf. Our veins are
indistinguishable. They snake and crisscross
under near-transparent panels.
The story is one I haven’t read,
in a language I never learned. It doesn’t
falter at the spine but rises
through the skin into
a library of trees, I don’t know what species.
Look how each peels back its bark,
its quiet sapwood, until what is left
is light. It wants to show
how we are so alike.
Its limbs — arched to shelter me from rain —
are breakable. And my veins
are blue-green, like an egg.
There’s always so much more to say.
The secret is to push your thoughts
into the ground. Observe. Then
write down what you see.
This is what the canopy strives for day after day,
what it will always deliver.