Meander

More

Yes, a river is a tree, a tree a river, built by source
       and branchings,
like the river in Byzantium called Maeander, with its
       tributaries and blind offshoots.
Like that elm, closer to home, that earlier every year
       loses leaves,
then towers in isolation, each divided limb finding shape
       inside the air.
And this rain slip-slipping down the window, capillary,
       fragmentary, bled,
and bleeding out, a kind of river delta, spreading like
       the rootlike veining
of the heart or the ganglia of nerve cells off the spine,
       the spine itself
a slight meander, rooted to the ground, branching to a cloud.
My heart, my spine, my cloud, the x-rays coldly spiritual,
       the invisible made real.
Of the six shapes in nature, the oval, the circle, and
       the hexagon all close,
suggesting symmetry, endings as beginnings, the egg, the moon,
       the perfect snow,
geometry and physics of completion, symbols of certainty,
       the formal beauty of arrival.
That loving shape of the limb on the dying elm, how far
       from where it started,
still growing, even now, toward ending, the way a river
       and its runoff end.

Stanley Plumly's recent books include Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2000 and a volume of essays, Argument and Song: Sources and Silences in Poetry (2003).
Jump to comments
Presented by

Stanley Plumly’s most recent collection is Orphan Hours (2012). He teaches at the University of Maryland.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In