One Poem by Daniel Corrie

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Longleaf, Laniakea

 i.

                  To find a brief line

                               through the great drift—

 

 

ii.

I walk.

              Clouds pass. A chord of luminescence falls.

                           In syncopation, bright drops fall from branches.

                  Sixty acres’ eight-year-old pines
                                                  rise in time being told
                               in shadow and sunlight circling slim trunks.

                       Pines climb from lines followed
                                                    for hands that reached
                                                 from a trailer’s slow passing,

                                                              to notch in the sandy soil
                                                       the six-inch seedlings.

                  They climb from rows convenient
                                           for tires’ fat tread to follow
                                                       to fell, to haul, to sell them,

                                                 likely, in some time past
                                                       our two names on a deed

                                                            and our time’s timekeeping.

                               We would have them find a way
                                                                    through time to tower,

                                                       as the old Southern forests
                                                              had towered.

                              Days of their expanding shadows
                                               might round them on ground carpeted
                                          with their own brown needles,

                                   each pine its own gnomon
                                           counting time up into each pillar’s

                                   branches rising into light of day after day.

                      Through sky, a wedge drives itself.
                                           The distance thins cranes’ bugling,
                                                                  reaching me as cooing.

                  A myth named two ravens Thought and Memory,
                                               pair rowing their wings

                                         through a book of my remembering
                                    and a mountain’s sky of my seeing,

                            pieces of the old night broken away

                               into black feathers sun-warmed
                                         in flight through light.

                        Among the traveling stars
                                   is one star,
                                      mother of felt days. 

                              In minutes’ sunlight falling 
                         over needled branches,
                                droplets are shining.              

               Past all shrines of time, there waits

                           the koan shrine.

 

 

iii.

I look.

             Galaxies shrink
                         to the computer screen, floating as cosmic curios.

               The screen blinks to news of the newest
                               car bomb’s eruption—brief universe of shrapnel.

                                                   The screen blinks.
                      Door of a home lies in mud where
                                             a warming world’s tornado left it.

                 The real and the irreal play through nerves.
                                      Words caught in a head

                                                 might seed or shred the world—

                                                               shred the seeing of the world—                                  

                      Delirium of selfhood and clarity of each selfhood
                                              braid, helices

                                                        twining and weaving—

                                                              twistings and untwistings
                                         of makeshift meanings.

                                                  To blink into a life becomes
                                                                    a caesura
                                                                      notched in the line

                                                             of all time’s
                                                                                  utter continuing.

                                         The screen blinks into a galaxy drifting,
                                                  blindly merging with a galaxy

                               as a sperm will enter an egg.

 

 

iv.

                                                        Sun’s light falls over Earth’s sphere.
                                                                             Sun casts Earth’s shadow,

                                                            a cone of newer darkness
                                                        narrowing into primal darkness,

                                                               a spike of night driven

                                               into its vanishing point.

                            These past two years brought two hurricanes

                                 through our farm’s dozen-acre parcel
                                         of elder pines rocking, some toppling,

                      as though wind would rip and splinter futures.

                              How much more through time
                                                         might the world pass

                          before my kind shifts the very seasons

                            to abandon the pines that my kind routed
                     then turned to the work of returning?

                                   How will the tall natives rooted
                                          in my place’s time 

                   be left behind in the wake of dynamic time?

           When might they jut, dead jags, from parched earth’s rows
                                  of intended restoration?           

                                        I don’t know.
                                No one knows.

                   Time was a trackless line, extending.

          Awhile, time’s line of epochs have pocked
      into a trail of human tracks,

                   until the trail will lose itself, returning

                         into time’s sleepwalking
                 its trackless course                        

           through stars once beheld as constellations.

 

 

v.

                      Moment to moment,
                                                        time is the line that must be followed.

                                                     Some lines are marked by healing’s

                                                                        suture after suture.

                                                                      There can be the feeling
                                                             of time’s lived line

                                              as a moment following a moment
                                                     into syllables beginning

                                                                  to follow syllables—

                                    It might be avowal’s lines
                                                      of elisions slowing

                                                into holding
                                                      meaning’s pause—

                                                                    meaning’s poise—

                                           The sudden human brain’s

                                 notion of conviction
                                   might rise to stand, opening

        as the opening out of branches shaggy
                       with green needles in sunlight’s shower,

                          dripping from rain’s shower.

 

 

vi.

                  Each moment is a finality.

                                           Into the line, finality

                                    might be the hand that roots
                                                 the seedling to become       

                                                        time-cast, earth-risen—

                                                  splendor unadorned—

                           To be, walking out from nows’ arc
                                   of the aftermaths of finalities—

                                        To be now’s point
                                           blazing the line of finalities

                                 that were resonances, living

                                           into other resonances
                                      that are and will be becoming—

                                          To be a finality, resonant—

                                               Into the line—Into the lineage—

                               They walked—we walk—they will walk

                             joining times’ line with each
                                              entering through feeling

                                                                like the falling
                                                  of light through branches—

                               through the purposes waiting

                                                   in sunfall unadorned—
                                         in lucency unadorned—

                          The end of human resonances
                              of grief, of love, of trying

                            will be completion of the shape—

                                       final finality—

                                of the lineage and the sum

                      of those who could join the line
                                     of the human good’s

                  scattered hours of splendor—

                        Though beauty will follow its wheel

                                      into the sun of the sum
                                         to be lost,

                                 each who found it will have won—

                           The moments all are finalities.

                              One after one into the line,

                     it will have been won—

 

 

vii.

I walk. I look. In the uncountable stars, I disappear.

             In the uncountable stars is where we met

                                    and is where I feel and have felt
                                                               what I’ve felt for you.

              All time’s arid stardust
                                                    brought me to my days’ oases with you.

                                              Sown into time has been our time
                                                                  and will be our time

                                                                                for some years
                                                          walking some acres
                                   of lines of pines we planted together.

                                                     A pair of lives aligned with luck.

                                               We chose from what we saw,
                                                              and we intuited a shape.

                                                         A pair shaped time

                                                into becoming a shape
                                              gladly shared awhile.

                               Mind thrown into world—             

                                         Life born toward a bourne

                            of its own self-sculpting, self-sculpted
                                               completion of a shape—

           The good, the true, the beautiful—

                            the heedful—the cherished 

                                         in awareness,
                                    as might be—

                      From the moments, my now
                                                            now opens—

                                                         I raise my eyes
                                             to sky’s changescape

                        of clouds perpetually oblivious
                 of their own perpetual reshaping.

        Among bright spirals drifting through eons,

  eyes will lift to the night of flung suns
                   alive in a pause of a mind arrived

            at the koan shrine.

 

 

 

Note: Of the vast, lost Southern forests, Lawrence S. Earley wrote in Looking for Longleaf, “Almost all of the old-growth pine forest is gone—perhaps 12,000 acres remain in scattered stands. By any measure, longleaf’s decline of nearly 98 percent is among the most severe of any ecosystem on earth.” Dan and Ellen Corrie have planted 60 acres of longleaf pine and native understory on their South Georgia farm. Laniakea is the name of the galaxy supercluster containing the Milky Way and 100,000 other galaxies. It means “immeasurable heaven” in Hawaiian. 

 

Daniel Corrie“Longleaf, Laniakea” will appear in Daniel Corrie’s forthcoming chapbook, The Pines of the South (Iris Press). Corrie’s other books are Words, World (Blue Horse Press), For the Future (Iris Press) and Human (Iris Press). His poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, Image, Missouri Review, New Criterion, Southern Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. One of his poems received the first-place 2011 Morton Marr Poetry Prize from The Southwest Review.
 
Read long poems by Daniel Corrie previously appearing in Terrain.org: “Swimming at Night”, “Words of Time, Book of Fire,” and “The Ancient Surge of Stars and Night Opens as All Being’s Single Bloom.” And read William Wright’s review of Words, World and For the Future.
 
Header photo of longleaf pine-wiregrass community at sunrise by Christopher Kregel, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Daniel Corrie by Ellen Corrie.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.