Watch Live: The Washington Ideas Forum 2014

From a Window

Incurable and unbelieving
In any truth but the truth of grieving,

I saw a tree inside a tree
Rise kaleidoscopically

As if the leaves had livelier ghosts.
I pressed my face as close

To the pane as I could get
To watch that fitful, fluent spirit

That seemed a single being undefined
Or countless beings of one mind

Haul its strange cohesion
Beyond the limits of my vision

Over the house heavenwards.
Of course I knew those leaves were birds.

Of course that old tree stood
Exactly as it had and would

(But why should it seem fuller now?)
And though a man’s mind might endow

Even a tree with some excess
Of life to which a man seems witness,

That life is not the life of men.
And that is where the joy came in.

Christian Wiman's most recent book is Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet (2007). He is the editor of Poetry magazine.
Presented by

Christian Wiman is the editor of Poetry magazine. His most recent book is Hard Night.

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

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

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In