Vox Populi

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Patricia Clark: Riverside Ghazal

Most watery of all the trees, these willows
stand in water. Ice pools around the ankles of willows.

A tree’s name should reveal its nature.
Salix babylonica: the first word is for willow.

Doesn’t it sound stretchy and pliable?
Babylonica is for the weeping part of willow.

From a quotation in Psalms: by the rivers of Babylon
we wept. The people hung harps on willows.

The weight gave them a bent, permanent shape.
A girl flings her hair down, a young willow.

A golden color, like a shout, all the length
of the fronds. They light up the willow.

Nearby on the concrete ramp, an ice-filled boat
waits for the sun to unmoor it, sail it past the willows.

In the season of thaw, this ice giving way.
By the rivers of America, we wept these willows.

Copyright 2022. First published in The Atlantic. Republished in My Father on a Bicycle (Michigan State, 2005).

Patricia Clark is the author of six books of poetry: Self-Portrait with a Million Dollars; The Canopy; Sunday Rising; She Walks Into the Sea; My Father on a Bicycle; and North of Wondering.

Weeping Willow (source: Gardening Know How)

4 comments on “Patricia Clark: Riverside Ghazal

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    October 16, 2022

    What a lovely poem✨


  2. harkness01
    October 12, 2022

    This lovely delicate poem takes a surprising — but inevitable — turn in the last couplet. Wonderful, Patricia.


  3. Sally Bliumis-Dunn
    October 12, 2022

    Love this, Patricia! Especially the harp!


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This entry was posted on October 12, 2022 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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