not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Friday, March 11, 2011

happening upon a tree

try to tell me just where my beating fervor lies
tell me if it is inside or out
and what is right or wrong
try to tell me that you know perspective
better than the next person

incremental sluggish draws
life grows of its own volition


  1. the windowsill is glowing erin! the places you go! the things you see!

    this reminds me of a documentary i saw about Chernobyl twenty years after the meltdown. a town of apartment blocks abandoned. by man, that is. trees, plants and animals rule unimpeded. an elm tree in the living room. it burst through the concrete foundation as i remember it (is that even possible?) why can't we grow like that? or can we? is it our need for control that won't allow us to? life cannot be controlled. it bursts forth and recedes without explanation. all explanations are our own.

  2. and i've just learned, and i'm none too happy about it because i am a child and my own myth making has been interrupted, that this building was a girl's residential school. just now after taking the photo and posting it my mother has told me. and while this makes the tree even more poignant, it seems that is wasn't clever me for the seeing at all, but rather life itself that took hold and pushed through umbilically its own metaphors. who am i but a pair of eyes? and at times, even in my seeing, unseeing?

    do you know of residential schools? it is a horrific bruise upon our white sides here in canada. we are as evil as all the rest, as dense and stubborn and judgemental as concrete.

    had we only known that trees can take root even in concrete.


  3. i don't know about residential schools. please tell me.

  4. in a nutshell, we plucked native children from their families, plunged them into Christianity, white washed them with English, beat them, raped them and wore them into submission. and then we tried to forget about it. hoped they might. and now we misunderstand one another and how can any sort of trust be reborn from this? how understanding?

    it was not so long ago.

    i am sad.

    i once had a wonderful opportunity to travel canada in a multi-faith tour celebrating the indigenous peoples of canada. what a conflicted entity in and of itself but beautiful too. it was both beyond sense and utter sense. one day a stranger came up to me in a supermarket. he said, little white girl, you can not carry the shame of your skin.

    another time on a beach in the caribbean a hostile black man shouted at me, what, you think you're white? have you looked at yourself? you are not white. you are some shade of pink! even that was despicable.

    i know somewhere around these things truths live. i know that there are hills and hills of sadness. i hope that there are hills of healing too, for us all.


  5. thank you for telling me.

    we do this over and over, don't we? and we forget. i think that's the sad truth. those forgotten far outnumber those remembered. it's important we don't go blank; our history, our memories, mustn't be white linens, cool and comforting to our faces.

    my hands are not white they are red with blood. is that an exaggeration? perhaps. but it's not untrue. all nations are founded on acts of violence. we owe society our disobedience. we owe ourselves and each other.


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))