the Poplars

“These memories were left here with the trees” ~ Jo Harjo

They say we should never go back. The urge to recapture is something of a fool’s quest, for nothing remains just as it always was. Even the bible warns against the backward glance as full of salty tears, enough to fill a pillar. But there is where fragments of you are left, your footsteps, our fractions of time. Crumbs of connection to feed upon.

And so I took the train again and the riverside path to the plantation. Beyond the gate, geometric alleys of poplar and a fully foliated forest. Long gone the spindly saplings we had lain beneath, watching seeds soar through clear skies, in slow, frothy swarms. These memories were left here with the trees. Now there’s a clear-cut timeline in their fattened trunks and the quivering leaves sound a soft lament for my witnessing alone.

Merrill asks us to write, in not more than 144 words, some prose to include the given line of poetry from Jo Harjo, for Monday’s Prosery: Memories with the Trees

27 thoughts on “the Poplars

  1. I really enjoyed the way you expressed the pull towards those harrowing memories… the reference to the bible with salt and pillars really told me of the dangers that caught the wife of Lot …

  2. There’s such a melancholy feel to this–sadly beautiful. I like how you comment on the growth of the trees. I really enjoyed reading this!

  3. “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
    ― Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
    Yet, when I go back seeking that which I left behind…it seems I, again, leave another piece of myself there.

  4. Excellent turn, and rocking of the prompt. Many of us mined similar poetic veins tonight; kind of memories are made of this. One small aspect. Clear-cutting is when loggers cut down every tree, so I thought your trees were only stumps, which still worked with your premise.

    1. thank you Glenn for some interesting feedback – here clear-cut is used as adjective to the timeline not the trees but always good to know how others can read something and still and still retain the intended image – if they had been cut (as they will, they are an agri-crop) it would have broken my heart

  5. I love poplars, Laura, and used to think of them as typically French, but we have an avenue of them leading up to our village church and they’re most definitely English! I enjoyed this piece very much, especially the second paragraph, which took me into the forest – I heard the quivering leaves.

    1. thank you Kim – I heard such sadness in their whisperings

      p.s. Poplars most definitely trees of the whole N. Hemisphere and the Black Poplar (of which these are not) are one of our natives

  6. Excellent writing Laura ! Good use of the prompt line. Enjoyed reading this.

  7. Love the sad, nostalgic tone, and the beautiful imagery, especiallyt this line:

    “Long gone the spindly saplings we had lain beneath, watching seeds soar through clear skies, in slow, frothy swarms.”

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