Perhaps the purpose of leaves is to conceal
the verticality of trees which we notice in December
as if for the first time: row after row of dark forms
yearning upwards. And since we will be horizontal
ourselves for so long, let us now honor
the gods of the vertical: stalks of wheat which
to the ant must seem as high as these trees do to us,
silos and telephone poles, stalagmites and skyscrapers.
but most of all these winter oaks, these soft-fleshed poplars,
this birch whose bark is like roughened skin against
which I lean my chilled head, not ready to lie down.
Vertical – Poem by Linda Pastan
I could never thank Linda Pastan enough for creating and publishing such a poem that makes me catch my breath. For years I have looked at winter trees, wishing to capture them in pencil or watercolor, but could never find the words to express my sentiments. Now in this poem of hers, I feel an overwhelming gratitude that someone thought it, wrote it and published it. Thank you Linda Pastan.