poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 14, 2016.
About this Poem 

“We bought the house because of the spruce. It rose above all the other trees in this area of town, and had its roots underneath a corner where people paused to talk.  After it fell, in a windstorm so violent that fires broke out across Missoula, I received more than a hundred notes at my door—a few people wanting to work with the wood in a way that was equal to the tree, but most expressing grief. Even now, six months later, strangers will stop me to say, ‘It was something.’”
—Joanna Klink

On Falling (Blue Spruce)

Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised. 

Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds

arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,

ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it became

unknowable. Every day
of my life now I cannot
understand. The force

of dual winds lifting
ninety years of stillness
as if it were nothing,

as if it hadn’t held every
crow and fog, emptying
night from its branches. 

The needles fell. The pinecones
dropped every hour
on my porch, a constant

irritation. It is enough
that we crave objects,
that we are always

looking for a way
out of pain. What is beyond
task and future sits right

before us, endlessly
worthy. I have planted
a linden, with its delicate

clean angles, on a plot
one tenth the size. Some change
is too great. 

Somewhere there is a field,
white and quiet, where a tree
like this one stands,

made entirely of
hovering. Nothing will
hold me up like that again.
 

Copyright © 2016 by Joanna Klink. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 14, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Joanna Klink. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 14, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Joanna Klink

Joanna Klink

Joanna Klink is the author, most recently, of Excerpts from a Secret Prophecy (Penguin Books, 2015).

by this poet

poem
Am I not alone, as I thought I was, as I thought
The day was, the hour I walked into, morning
When I felt night fly from my chest where prospect had
Slackened, and close itself off, understanding, as I thought I did,
That the ground would resist my legs and not let them
Break nor let them be released into air as
poem


STARS, SCATTERSTILL. Constellations of people and quiet. 

Those nights when nothing catches, nothing also is artless. 

I walked for hours in those forests, my legs a canvas of scratches,

trading on the old hopes—we were meant to be lost. But being lost

poem

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

2