Vox Populi

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Chard deNiord: Tree of Wisdom

I am taken in by its stand and breadth, 
marveling at its brawn and reach of branches, 
studying each leaf like the page of a sacred book, 
embracing its trunk like a void.
I hear the prophecy of a lark in the density 
of foliage: "The vision awaits its time; 
hastens to the end." Until this time arrives, 
I am content to sit and stare and climb. 

I am compelled to bet my life on the fact 
that this is the first work of revelation, 
calling a tree tree and leaves leaves. 
It is the good work of a scientist. 
It is the hidden work of a common man.
I say its name like the bird who can't stop singing, 
Ten Thousand Things In One, and then this prayer,
Om mani padme hum. The jewel is in the world.

I lie in the shade of its canopy 
and listen to the genius above deny her name. 
I turn its green to black in order to turn 
it back again. I watch its fruit fall in the wind 
like proofs for a law that only exists in the mind.

Like a well-stocked house it sustains me, 
cleans my lungs with the distillation.
It is my home of transformation
where I remain and disappear.

Chard deNiord’s many books include In My Unknowing (Pitt, 2020). He is the former Poet Laureate of Vermont (2015-2019).

9 comments on “Chard deNiord: Tree of Wisdom

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    March 27, 2023

    I love how the poem ends✨


  2. Erine
    March 26, 2023

    Om Mani Padme Hum


  3. Mary Jane White
    March 26, 2023

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. All the way through . . . thank you, and, yes, the little bits above, are among the best. Agreed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ssteph2013
    March 26, 2023

    Half prayer, half poem (if those can be separated in a sense) and so lyrical… lovely.


  5. Loranneke
    March 26, 2023

    “…It is the good work of a scientist.
    It is the hidden work of a common man.

    I say its name like the bird who can’t stop singing,
    Ten Thousand Things In One…”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. edisonmarshalljenningsgmailcom
    March 26, 2023

    Thanks for this!


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