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  •  A Swinger of Birches (1+ / 0-)
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    joanneleon

    Birches

    WHEN I see birches bend to left and right     
    Across the line of straighter darker trees,     
    I like to think some boy's been swinging them.     
    But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.     
    Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them             5
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning     
    After a rain. They click upon themselves     
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored     
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.     
    Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells      10
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—     
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away     
    You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.     
    They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,     
    And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed      15
    So low for long, they never right themselves:     
    You may see their trunks arching in the woods     
    Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground     
    Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair     
    Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.      20
    But I was going to say when Truth broke in     
    With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm     
    (Now am I free to be poetical?)     
    I should prefer to have some boy bend them     
    As he went out and in to fetch the cows—      25
    Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,     
    Whose only play was what he found himself,     
    Summer or winter, and could play alone.     
    One by one he subdued his father's trees     
    By riding them down over and over again      30
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,     
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left     
    For him to conquer. He learned all there was     
    To learn about not launching out too soon     
    And so not carrying the tree away      35
    Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise     
    To the top branches, climbing carefully     
    With the same pains you use to fill a cup     
    Up to the brim, and even above the brim.     
    Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,      40
    Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.     

    So was I once myself a swinger of birches;     
    And so I dream of going back to be.     
    It's when I'm weary of considerations,     
    And life is too much like a pathless wood      45
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs     
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping     
    From a twig's having lashed across it open.     
    I'd like to get away from earth awhile     
    And then come back to it and begin over.      50
    May no fate wilfully misunderstand me     
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away     
    Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:     
    I don't know where it's likely to go better.     
    I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,      55
    And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk     
    Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,     
    But dipped its top and set me down again.     
    That would be good both going and coming back.     
    One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

    SECURITY, because ticking time bomb mushroom cloud of terror!!
    Shop Kos Katalogue

    by Words In Action on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 08:08:05 AM PDT

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