Consider a Leaf
It occurs to me that I've spent years searching for poems on the internet. I mean, I wouldn't want to even attempt to count up the hours. While I'd be terrified to know how many hours I've spent on social media in the last 10 years, I'd probably be okay knowing how much time I'd spent seeking out poems. I don't have any special tricks or techniques. It feels a bit like a game, mostly, and one where you very often come out a winner. I try to match a poem with a photo maybe, or a feeling, or both. And there are times when I discover a new poet, and want to read more, and with some luck my sharing the poem also encourages others to seek out the poet's work. So much winning, right?
Today I have two poems from Poetry International. The first is by a poet from Sweden:
I Look at a Leaf and Attach My Hope
by Ann Jäderlund
I look at a leaf and attach my hope
to it. That despite the year’s end
it will remain. If the wind will quiver.
And trembling not notice. I look
at it from my place. Hasn’t
its place always been? Similar
in itself? What keeps me
then. From that and for ever
turn back. Or just
Hope is the thing with feathers, but hope is also present in that last leaf, the frosted one, hanging on and on.
Let's also consider the leaf that does fall. Let's imagine the slightest breeze. What happens when we imagine we are the leaf?
Consider the Path of a Falling Leaf
by Truong Tran
consider the path of a falling leaf the distance in between the branch and the earth the slightest breeze could alter its course now consider yourself as that falling leaf falling falling and where did you come from and where are you now
While new to me, Tran is obviously a well-known and established poet. I'm always interested in writers who also pursue another art form, and so was interested to learn about his art making.
From Poetry Foundation:
“Tran has described himself as primarily a visual artist whose “alter ego” is a poet. In an interview, Tran talks about how his visual art often remediates his poetry: “I reached a point in my writing life where I didn’t want to use words anymore. I didn’t trust language. So what I did was I went back to my four books of poetry to reconsider them in various ways, but without the additional creation of language. … With four letter words, which is my last book, I chose to reinterpret every poem in that book as a visual work, and that work is the lost and found.” The work, in which Tran uses found materials, often litter and trash, to create new objects and assemblages, is exhibited at the Mina Dresden Gallery in San Francisco. “My craft is founded in the doing,” Tran says of this work. “I glue things together. I make things fit. I dip things in wax. I cut. I build. I weave. I think.”
You can read more about Tran and view his art on his website.
What's wonderful to me is that it's possible to look at a leaf and see it in these two very different ways. And if you sat down to write a poem about your leaf, that would also be different. There will never be enough leaf poems, in my humble opinion, because there are so many ways of looking at leaves.