Thursday, April 03, 2008

Life Draws a Tree...

I was reminded of this poem yesterday and had to search to find it again. So, for April, a drawing lesson from Argentinean poet Roberto Juarróz, translated by W.S. Merwin:

Life Draws a Tree . . .

Life draws a tree
and death draws another one.
Life draws a nest
and death copies it.
Life draws a bird
to live in the nest
and right away death
draws another bird.

A hand that draws nothing
wanders among the drawings
and at times moves one of them.
For example:
a bird of life
occupies the death’s nest
on the tree that life drew.

Other times
the hand that draws nothing
blots out one drawing of the series.
For example:
the tree of death
holds the nest of death
but there’s no bird in it.

And other times
the hand that draws nothing
itself changes
into an extra image
in the shape of a bird,
in the shape of a tree,
in the shape of a nest.
And then, only then,
nothing’s missing and nothing’s left over.
For example:
two birds
occupy life’s nest
in death’s tree.

Or life’s tree
holds two nests
with only one bird in them.

Or a single bird
lives in the one nest
on the tree of life
and the tree of death.


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