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Thanks to a residency at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at LMU M√ľnchen, where I tutor composition and edit a poetry weekly, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach at MVHS and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.



by Theodore Roethke

Negative tree, you are belief
Engendered by an iron grief,

A variously compounded fact
Denied the favor of swift act.

With terrible precision, you
Can split an aging rock in two;

Yet in your dumb profusion there 
Is quiet, positive and clear.

You are a timeless sorrow thrust
Beyond the dreamlessness of dust.

You are a bird, securely bound,
That sings the song of voiceless ground,

And builds a nest in sterile stone,
Yet breeds no kin of flesh and bone.

You are a bird denied, the blood
Of earth in flying attitude.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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