The word has no life of its own
despite what the writer tells you.
Behind the sword is no quivering
hand worn into life's hilt, no arm
swaying the wind in dying movement.
There is only the word, sword.
Outside, the trees live without language
and tip toward whatever sun manages
through a thinning atmosphere of dust,
ice, and vapor. The life of each branch
balances on what the tree affords it. The soil
holds the tree without language or pity.
But there is no tree in this poem, only
the word, tree. There is no speaker who
entreats you to imagine the tree standing
solitary in a green field, specked with clover
rising up in tufts of almost transparent cream.
There is no field. There is no clover, no green.
But you listen, anyway. Hear her voice
follow you into the afternoon, imagine language
crosses a clearing, the stark way a thing reveals
when thinned clouds expose better light. You
are the tree, tip toward words as they overcome
absence, bring outward your inner forms.
--Ruth Ellen Kocher
"The word, sword," "live without language," "soil holds the tree without language or pity," "tip toward" (both references), and that conclusion...
Swoon. Such music.