Poetry in Motion


First Lesson: Winter Trees (an excerpt)

Michael Waters
A black poster is decorated with white, straight back chairs. An excerpt from the poem First Lesson: Winter Trees by Michael Waters is featured in the middle.

These winter trees charcoaled against bare sky,
  a few quick strokes on the papery
    blankness, mean to suggest the mind
  leaping into paper, into sky, not bound
by the body's strict borders. The correspondence
  school instructor writes: The ancient
    masters loved to brush the trees
  in autumn, their blossoms fallen
I've never desired the trees' generous
  flowering, but prefer this austere
    beauty, the few branches nodding
  like…like hair swept over a sleeping
lover's mouth, I almost thought too fast. 

"First Lesson: Winter Trees" (excerpt) from Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum by Michael Waters. Copyright © 1997 by Michael Waters. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.