Two Bur Oaks and a Crawdad

A group of swamp white oaks Healthy soil is important, but for whom?  In the Garden  The young bur oak would not be kept down. Yet again it revealed itself among the standing dead stalks of a large patch of purple bee balm, a good three feet tall and leafing out. In spring, a bur oak’s leaves look like sharp-edged, glossy cutouts. They are not green, but shade delicately among soft corals, tans and pinks. The green comes a bit later, like a slow-motion wave gently pervading each leathery leaf. The question, as it had been for several years, was what to do with this young newcomer to the garden.  About ten feet away and across the walk from house to garage stands a second bur oak that I’d started from an acorn some twelve years ago. I’ve enjoyed watching it grow its first sets of true leaves, become large enough to attract birds and then mature enough to bear acorns. This winter I limbed it up three feet from the ground, mainly to give the sedges and wild geraniums growing underneath a

April is Poetry Month 2011: "Segovia's Every Tree in Its Shadow"

This is poetry month and it shouldn't go by without ackowledgement, since it is the poets who from earliest times have most celebrated our deep connection with the natural world. Here is a poem by Mexican poet Francisco Segovia that I like.

First in English,

Every Tree in Its Shadow

Every tree in its shadow
shelters a different god.
In its uplifted solitude
it rocks him, whispers to him,
confides its secrets in him.

Every tree in its shadow
makes foliage from a faith
that wasn't born with him
and won't come to an end.

Every tree in its shadow feels
the depth of the immaterial
that men also feel
when they watch children from a distance.

And every once in awhile,
when it clouds up they learn
that a deeper and vaster shadow
shelters them too,
and rocks them and whispers to them
as it rains.

Translators Don Share and Cesar Perez

Now in the original Spanish. (My apologies for the lack of accents. When I figure out how to do so, I'll add them in. Update 5/1/11: now the poem is correct, thanks to Don P.)

Cada árbol en su sombra

Cada árbol en su sombra
cobija un dios distinto.
En su erguida soledad
lo mece, le susurra
y a el se fía en su secreto.

Cada árbol en su sombra
hace espesura de una fe
que no nació con el
ni acabara en el tiempo.

Cada árbol en su sombra siente
esa hondura de inmateria
que también sienten los hombres
cuando miran de lejos a los niños

Y solo de cuando en cuando,
cuando se nubla el día, reconocen
que una sombra mas vasta y mas honda
los cobija también a ellos.
Y los mece y les susurra
cuando llueve.

Francisco Segovia                                               

Meanwhile, it has stopped raining, the lettuce is up, and the bees are out--it's time to go out to the garden.

Note: Here is a review of two collections of Mexican poetry in English translation from ReVista.

Related Posts:
Meteorological Winter
Gardeners' Work
National Poetry Month in the Garden


Don Plummer said…
Great poem, Adrian. I was not familiar with it.

I have my comp students read a poem by Pablo Neruda (Ode to the Apple; my own translation). Another poem I use in class is one by Mary Oliver about the wanton destruction (for a shopping mall) of a pond she used to play around as a child.

Regarding accents and other diacritics in Spanish, a Spanish keyboard is the best solution, but I don't recommend it (letters will not be where you are used to finding them). Aside from that, if you use Microsoft Word, you can access them through the Insert: Symbol features. It's kind of tedious, but it does the job. Another option (again, in Microsoft Word) is to use the Set Language command to set your spell checker to Spanish. When you run spell check, the spell checker will often flag words without accents and other diacritics as misspelled; correcting them will add in the diacritics.
Hi Don,

I know the Neruda poem--it's nice you can do your own translations. Don't know that Mary Oliver poem. I saw her read a few years ago.

Thanks for your help with the Spanish. The Word Set Language and Spell Check worked well. I was then able to paste it into blogger with no problem.
Don Plummer said…
What Was Once the Largest Shopping Center in
Northern Ohio Was Built Where There Had Been
a Pond I Used to Visit Every Summer Afternoon

Loving the earth, seeing what has been done to it,
I grow sharp, I grow cold.

Where will the trilliums go, and the coltsfoot?
Where will the pond lilies go to continue living
their simple, penniless lives, lifting
their faces of gold?

Impossible to believe we need so much
as the world wants to buy.
I have more clothes, lamps, dishes, paper clips
than I could possibly use before I die.

Oh, I would like to live in an empty house,
with vines for walls, and a carpet of grass,
No planks, no plastic, no fiberglass.

And I suppose sometime I will.
Old and cold I will lie apart
from all this buying and selling, with only
the beautiful earth in my heart.

From Why I Wake Early, 2004
Don Plummer said…
You're welcome. Lucky you that you got to hear her read!