Innocence splintered when I watched the tree branch fall.
Sleeping in tight corners,
the wind, the rain, the mourning trees
all spoke my name as they cried out.
But in those sounds €”the creaking, the whining and pounding,
the whistling of the wind between leaves and branches €”
There was clarity, the possibility of death
so that we may all sing laments neither for us, nor for our souls,
but for the nature which, through language, we have left.
And I left it, staying within safety, if there was any to be had,
understanding the difference I, a product of selection, shared.
But in passing, in seeing the destruction and its forms,
I returned to the woods, to the breath of what we know and saw
fear in my own eyes,
in the frailty of nature, and of myself, to a birth of civility.
Chris A. Peck, currently resides in Provo, Utah with his wife and two boys. He is attending Utah Valley University working towards a degree in English education and philosophy after a long failed stint in the sciences. He is an avid cyclist and loves the outdoors. He has recently published in Warp and Weave as well as with the Utah Valley University Philosophy Conference.
Photo is in the public domain.
3 thoughts on “Memories of a Fallen Branch by Chris Peck”
I’ll confess this poem is still something of an enigma to me, Chris. It tells a story, sure, but less about being than becoming aware. It reminds me of Joyce’s “Araby” in this regard, or of H.D.’s darker stuff. Modernist, and not least because of its evocation of natural selection and the necessary questions that proposes for the thinking self.
Can you take a minute and say something more about “safety” and “civility” here as, in my view, the lynchpins of the becoming?
Safety and civility go hand in hand. They are comforts that we have adopted through language and society. In the poem I am looking out ward still from these safe places, trying to come to terms with what I am seeing and experiencing. So, I guess, they represent our natural separation that will always stand between us and a full encompassing of nature.
I think knowing exactly what the story is would help to uncover much of the poems meaning but I’m always hesitant to reveal to much. I will talk a bit about that, though, if it will help clarify.