September's theme engages the beauty, fragility, power and force of nature, and the ways the earth works with and upon our human understanding. Sometimes it takes a contemplation of the natural world to make sense of an inner reality, to accept something in us we are struggling to accept.
I am probably an oak
I want to be a maple, to spark gasps of marvel
at dazzling crimson aware of near falling
trumpeting color all the same.
But I give shade, drop acorns
for the squirrels to store in their cheeks,
their caches, their forgotten places;
I hold onto my leaves--burnished, earthy
even into the winter wind.
Or I could be sumac, flamboyant and shocking,
Electric, poisonous, dangerous
invasive and unmanageable – Carmen, Liszt
virtuoso and flagrant with many secrets.
But I am probably an oak
a rooted canopy, slowly big
my wealth useful, ordinary, my richness brown
a church choir in solid pews ready to sing each Sunday
rising and sitting and kneeling in a familiar cycle
wide arms relaxed at my sides
no triumphant hurrah at the end of the whirling dance.
I want to be loved just once with a fatal passion
to be a whip, a crack of lightning
not to stand firm, bending only in hurricane,
uprooted by tornado and nothing less
I want the fragile, breathless, beloved filigree
But I am probably an oak.
--Karen Lynn Erickson
Originally published in Dwellings, 2013, and used by permission of Finishing Line Press. [Cover image]
Invitation for your writing
Follow the model of this poem, filling in what comes to you from the works of nature: I want to be a(n)..., but I am probably a(n).... How does the mirror of nature help you see your nature? <!--