Living Tree

By Robert Morgan Robert Morgan
It’s said they planted trees by graves
to soak up spirits of the dead
through roots into the growing wood.
The favorite in the burial yards
I knew was common juniper.
One could do worse than pass into
such a species. I like to think
that when I’m gone the chemicals
and yes the spirit that was me
might be searched out by subtle roots
and raised with sap through capillaries
into an upright, fragrant trunk,
and aromatic twigs and bark,
through needles bright as hoarfrost to
the sunlight for a century
or more, in wood repelling rot
and standing tall with monuments
and statues there on the far hill,
erect as truth, a testimony,
in ground that’s dignified by loss,
around a melancholy tree
that’s pointing toward infinity.


Poem copyright ©2012 by Robert Morgan, whose most recent book of poems is Terroir, Penguin Poets, 2011. Poem reprinted from The Georgia Review, Spring 2012, by permission of Robert Morgan and the publisher.

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Poet Robert Morgan

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

 Robert  Morgan

Biography

Robert Morgan grew up in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at both Chapel Hill and Greensboro, where he studied with the poet Fred Chappell. After working as a salesman, house-painter, and farmer, he joined the faculty of Cornell University where he teaches English and creative writing.

Although some consider Morgan an Appalachian regional writer (a title he . . .

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Poems by Robert Morgan

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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