Saturday, September 22, 2007


This weeks New Yorker features a poem entitiled Resignation by J.D. McClatchy. The poem is beautiful, especially at this time of year when trees all around us are in the midst of change. The poem also hits a deeper note with me and one that I will most certainly write about later under the "I remember" label in this blog. Twice there have been trees on our property (evergreens) that suffered fates brutal and undeserving and yet I have to imagine that theirs was a resignation and surrender to that which they could not control. More on this later...
Mr. McClatchy is obviously inspired by Willa Cather as he quotes her insights first. Enjoy.

I like trees because they seem more resigned
to the way they have to live than other things do.
—Willa Cather


Here the oak and silver-breasted birches

stand in their sweet familiarity

While underground, as in a black mirror,

They have concealed their tangled grievances,

Identical to the branching calm above

But there ensnared, each with the others’ hold

On what gives life to which is brutal enough.

Still, in the air, none tries to keep company

Or change its fortune. They seem to lean

On the light, unconcerned with what the world

Makes of their decencies, and will not show

A jealous purchase on their length of days.

To never having been loved as they wanted

Or deserved, to anyone’s sudden infatuation

Gouged into their sides, to all they are forced

To shelter and to hide, they have resigned themselves.

J.D. McClatchey

The New Yorker, September 24, 2007

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