Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Tree

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Tree

Article excerpt

In memoriam Dennis Silk London, July 10, 1928-Jerusalem, July 3, 1998

Bzzzz. Not a bee, not a blistery handful of bees, but a

sawman at a tree. In Somerville, facing me. July three.

Part 1: The Uses of a Dead Man

All morning I watched through my window the fleshy maple

felled. That had twitched and shaded in the wind and played

its moving parts across a still, joined earth. The sawman in his

metal pulpit, inching upward against the trunk, making ovals

empty, spot by spot, till even space fell down and bounced

once. Maybe, I thought, he's trimming to make way for sun

weeds need. But no, up up, and branches down and down.

What words are steady enough on their spines to know

the end of bounced once? Then grande bouffe in the pulp

machine, offstage. More bzw. On the radio Copland's Fanfare

for the Common Man boomed brass. Dennis in his last letter

said about a poem, Yes, do more of that, but didn't say what

that was. There must be, I thought, some Tree Authority,

some Higher Arboreal Instance of Appeal: this tree was not

the neighbors own but belonged to anyone with eyes.

I told Dennis I was borrowing his word sly. …

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