Applied Geometry

By Russell Libby 1956–2012 Russell Libby
Applied geometry,   
measuring the height   
of a pine from   
like triangles,   
Rosa’s shadow stretches   
seven paces in   
low-slanting light of   
late Christmas afternoon.   
One hundred thirty nine steps   
up the hill until the sun is   
finally caught at the top of the tree,   
let’s see,   
twenty to one,   
one hundred feet plus a few to adjust   
for climbing uphill,   
and her hands barely reach mine   
as we encircle the trunk,   
almost eleven feet around.   
Back to the lumber tables.   
That one tree might make   
three thousand feet of boards   
if our hearts could stand   
the sound of its fall.

Poem copyright © 2007 by Russell Libby, whose most recent book is “Balance: A Late Pastoral,” Blackberry Press, 2007. Reprinted from “HeartLodge,” Vol. III, Summer 2007, by permission of Russell Libby.

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Poet Russell Libby 1956–2012

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Men & Women, Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Russell  Libby


Russell Libby earned a BA in economics from Bowdoin College and an MA in resource economics from the University of Maine. He is the author of the poetry collection Balance: A Late Pastoral (2007). His poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's column, "American Life in Poetry."

Libby lived on Three Sisters Farm in central Maine with his family. A longtime research director at the Maine Department of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Men & Women, Nature, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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