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
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.
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
twining and weaving—
twistings and untwistings
of makeshift meanings.
To blink into a life becomes
notched in the line
of all time’s
The screen blinks into a galaxy drifting,
blindly merging with a galaxy
as a sperm will enter an egg.
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.
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
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.
Each moment is a finality.
Into the line, finality
might be the hand that roots the seedling to become
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—
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—
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
as might be—
From the moments, my now
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.
“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.