Poetry Friday: “The Web”

One of the poets highlighted in Kathryn Aalto’s Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World (which inspired my April Poetry Project) is Alison Hawthorne Deming. Described by Aalto as “an interdisciplinary cross-thinker,” Deming has said that “each poem is an experiment to see if language can convey a shapely sense of the swarm of energy buzzing through the mind.” Exactly.

It feels like the world has gotten very loud over the past few weeks. As if it hadn’t been loud enough already. During these tumultuous days, I have found the possibility present in this poem by Alison Deming, with its “…conversation so quiet/the human world can vanish into it,” very reassuring.

The Web
by Alison Hawthorne Deming

Is it possible there is a certain
kind of beauty as large as the trees
that survive the five-hundred-year fire
the fifty-year flood, trees we can’t
comprehend even standing
beside them with outstretched arms
to gauge their span,
a certain kind of beauty
so strong, so deeply concealed
In relationship — black truffle
to red-backed vole to spotted owl
to Douglas fir, bats and gnats,
beetles and moss, flying squirrel
and the high-rise of a snag,
each needing and feeding the other–
a conversation so quiet
the human world can vanish into it.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Please be sure to visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “The Web”

  1. It has been loud lately — these are the lines I want to live, “a conversation not an argument,
    a beauty gathering such clarity and force
    it breaks the mind’s fearful hold on its
    little moment steeping it in a more dense
    intelligibility, within which centuries
    and distances answer each other”

    Wishing you a good weekend, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes. Thank you for the reminder that I promised myself I would begin retirement by reading WRITING WILD (oops), for Deming’s article (saved so I can go back and read-not-skim), and for her poem. I’ve had some glorious quiet conversations this week with an 8-point buck not 10 feet off the path in the park, and with Orion in the eastern sky before dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read several of the books about trees, most lately “Finding the Mother Tree” – amazing & I’m in awe of the findings. This is lovely, Catherine. I love Orion & “forest
    a conversation not an argument,. . .”
    {wishing at last everyone would} “speak at last with one and the same voice.” Thank you for the sentiment relayed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are indeed loud times Catherine. The poem you have chosen is quite apt. One particular line that spoke to me -‘that rise and float to let floodwaters pass’ provides the perfect allusion to how we all learn to gain such buoyancy in challenging times. so thank you for the timely reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the portrayal of the web of life that is a tree, and even more so, a community of trees. Thank you! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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