Finding what makes sense
In senseless times
Sometimes quite literally
In the two inches of humus
Faithfully recreating itself
Every hundred years.
It takes steadying oneself
Upon shale and clay and solid rock
Swearing allegiance to an ageless aquifer
Betting on all the still hidden springs.
You can believe in a tree,
With its broad-leafed perspective,
Dedicated to breathing in, and then out,
Reaching down, and then up,
Drinking in a goodness above and below
It’s splayed and mossy feet.
You can trust a tree’s careful
and drawn out way
One thoughtful sentence, covering the span of many seasons.
A tree doesn’t hurry, it doesn’t lie,
It knows how to stand true to itself
Unselfconscious of its beauty and scars,
And all the physical signs of where
and when It needed to bend,
Rather than break.
A tree stands solitary and yet in deepest communion,
For in the gathering of the many,
There is comfort and courage,
Perseverance and protection,
From the storms that howl down from predictable
Or unexplainable directions.
In a senseless time
Hold close to what never stopped
Like how a seed becomes a branch
And compost becomes seedlings again.
Like the scent at the very top of an infant’s head
Because there is nothing more right than that. Nothing.
It is all still happening
These are challenging, senseless times, these pandemic days, so what better time to hear from a poet who directs us toward finding what makes sense, what grounds us now. Grounding ourselves in the earth beneath our feet, the hidden springs beneath rock, and the trees. You can believe in a tree she says, its faithful breathing in and out, its broad-leafed perspective.
A tree knows how to stand true to itself, how to bend rather than break. A tree stands solitary and yet in deepest communion, and this is what we most need now in our solitude, this deepest communion with others where we can find comfort and courage, / Perseverance and protection.
At this time, the poet says, Hold close to what never stopped / Making sense. You know what those things are – love, trees, seeds – you will have your own list and it will be long. And yes, yes, the incomparable scent of an infant’s head – there is nothing more right than that. Nothing. Nothing.
Perhaps most importantly in these senseless times, is the reminder of what never stops, is the message: It is all still happening / Even now. Remember that. Remember that the love and the trees and the seeds and newborn life are all still happening to help ground us in our confusion. We can each find what makes sense to guide us in these disorienting times.
Written by the poet and songwriter Carrie Newcomer March 1, 2020