Deborah Hauser

Self inflicted Gaunt spare laid bare

The Copper Beech









The Copper Beech
By Marie Howe

Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,

with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where

I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.

One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.

Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,

watching it happen without it happening to me.

In this poem, the speaker finds solitude, peace, and shelter from the storm in the arms of a copper beach tree. Note how the form and content work together: the line about “being alone” is a single line that stands on its own.

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