A Poet Reflects

                         The Pruned Tree
                         As a torn paper might seal up its side,                         Or a streak of water stitch itself to silk                         And disappear, my wound has been my healing,                         And I am made more beautiful by losses.                         See the flat water in the distance nodding                         Approval, the light that fell in love with statues,                         Seeing my alive, turn its motion toward me.                         Shorn, I rejoice in what was taken from me.
                         What can the moonlight do with my new shape                         But trace and retrace its miracle of order?                         I stand, waiting for the strange reaction                         Of insects who knew me in my larger self,                         Unkempt, in a naturalness I did not love.                         Even the dog’s voice rings with a new echo,                         And all the little leaves I shed are singing,                         Singing to the moon of shapely newness.
                         Somewhere what I lost I hope is springing                         To life again.  The roofs, astonished by me,                         Are taking new bearings in the night, the owl                         Is crying for a further wisdom, the lilac                         Putting forth its strongest scent to find me.                         Butterflies, the sailboat’s grooves, are winging                         Out of the water to wash me, wash me.                         Now, I am stirring like a seed in China.
—Howard Moss, from the anthology Lament for the Makers: A Memorial Anthology compiled by W.S. Merwin (Counterpoint, 1996)

                         The Pruned Tree

                         As a torn paper might seal up its side,
                         Or a streak of water stitch itself to silk
                         And disappear, my wound has been my healing,
                         And I am made more beautiful by losses.
                         See the flat water in the distance nodding
                         Approval, the light that fell in love with statues,
                         Seeing my alive, turn its motion toward me.
                         Shorn, I rejoice in what was taken from me.

                         What can the moonlight do with my new shape
                         But trace and retrace its miracle of order?
                         I stand, waiting for the strange reaction
                         Of insects who knew me in my larger self,
                         Unkempt, in a naturalness I did not love.
                         Even the dog’s voice rings with a new echo,
                         And all the little leaves I shed are singing,
                         Singing to the moon of shapely newness.

                         Somewhere what I lost I hope is springing
                         To life again.  The roofs, astonished by me,
                         Are taking new bearings in the night, the owl
                         Is crying for a further wisdom, the lilac
                         Putting forth its strongest scent to find me.
                         Butterflies, the sailboat’s grooves, are winging
                         Out of the water to wash me, wash me.
                         Now, I am stirring like a seed in China.

—Howard Moss, from the anthology Lament for the Makers: A Memorial Anthology compiled by W.S. Merwin (Counterpoint, 1996)

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