Summer 1990 • Vol. XII No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 1990 |

Seed Storm

Now I know, watching their slow falling, that the cottonwoods are not simply speaking but have begun to sing, in their own way, and that the feathery notes sifting down all around us on this late May afternoon are only a dream of snowfall, of weather we have come through, all of us, everything that moves or breathes or waves in the wind. Ahead of us now the whiteness descending gathers in drifts in the grass and flows down the pathways, catching at peonies bent with heaviness, poppies starting to scatter— and I understand, as though these gestures were the language of some ancient chorus, that I have entered my fiftieth summer walking beneath these trees, all of them members of the poplar family, whose leaves still quiver, even when there is no wind. Look, the air is so calm now the seed storm no longer seems to fall, while we ourselvesare what is rising, up into that trembling.

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Now I know, watching their slow falling, that the cottonwoods are not simply speaking but have begun to sing, in their own way, and that the feathery notes sifting down […]

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