Monday, June 30, 2014

Reading Tree

So many ways to read these lines from Tree by Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books - 

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life. 

I like to first read Hirshfield very literally. The words are simple, the language is sparse and beautiful. Every word in the poem could be taken at face value - there is no pretense or complication. It is satisfying just to do that but its not quite enough. In a second reading, I like to create parallels - a young redwood could be a relationship that will grow deeply challenging over time and tap at my life. Another day in another place and frame of mind I may see entirely different parallels and find new meaning in these ten lines.