Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods

By Emily Wilson b. 1968 Emily Wilson
slant hand of beech leaves
shag of oaks before water
When did you go missing from me?
That passage between limb and slipped skin
gouged hickories, the ermine-bright birch
through all that is traveling slopeward
       circleting leaf through branch weave
       corymbs of curled leaves
       lone cedar document rising
Through trees that far land moves descant
the old rusts and pastes undershined
Don’t you ever think this is so strange?
the sibilant drift of dried leaves
the coming down all to some shambles
the encroachments on the innermost things
Don’t you feel how everything is strained beyond
       certain remembering?
The limbs break their fragile whisks into
The sky is a shroud pulled up over
Each leaf of the beech has its wisdom held fast
its little death ship
I cannot wake up from inside
       this burrow into fundaments of leaves
The cold drills down into the stone
the almost-extracted green
the bird cloaked up under the ribs
the dull gleams

Emily Wilson, “Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods” reprinted from The Keep. With permission Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001.

Source: The Keep (University of Iowa Press, 2001)

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Poet Emily Wilson b. 1968

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Landscapes & Pastorals, Trees & Flowers, Winter, Nature


Emily Wilson was born in Ohio and grew up in Maine; she was educated at Harvard University and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her collections of poetry include The Keep (2001); Morpho terrestre (2006), a limited-edition book with prints by Sara Langworthy; and Micrographia (2009). Poet James Galvin noted in the Boston Review that Wilson’s poetry matches “wildness of diction with precision of sense.”
Wilson has . . .

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SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Trees & Flowers, Winter, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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