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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.
What a lovely poem✨
I love this poem too, Lisa.
Michael Simms http://www.michaelsimms.info
Author of Bicycles of the Gods https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZYTM9J5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1 Author of Nightjar https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933974435/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2 Author of American Ash https://www.amazon.com/American-Ash-Poems-Michael-Simms/dp/1933974397/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2PC9VWO127ZSF&dchild=1&keywords=american+ash+by+michael+simms&qid=1593969710&s=books&sprefix=American+ash,aps,133&sr=1-1 Editor of Vox Populi https://voxpopulisphere.com/
This lovely delicate poem takes a surprising — but inevitable — turn in the last couplet. Wonderful, Patricia.
Love this, Patricia! Especially the harp!