Poems

Planting A Sequoia

All afternoon my brothers and I have worked in the orchard,
Digging this hole, laying you into it, carefully packing the soil.
Rain blackened the horizon, but cold winds kept it over the Pacific,
And the sky above us stayed the dull gray
Of an old year coming to an end.

In Sicily a father plants a tree to celebrate his first son's birth--
An olive or a fig tree--a sign that the earth has one more life to bear.
I would have done the same, proudly laying new stock into my father's orchard,
A green sapling rising among the twisted apple boughs,
A promise of new fruit in other autumns.

But today we kneel in the cold planting you, our native giant,
Defying the practical custom of our fathers,
Wrapping in your roots a lock of hair, a piece of an infant's birth cord,
All that remains above earth of a first-born son,
A few stray atoms brought back to the elements.

We will give you what we can--our labor and our soil,
Water drawn from the earth when the skies fail,
Nights scented with the ocean fog, days softened by the circuit of bees.
We plant you in the corner of the grove, bathed in western light,
A slender shoot against the sunset.

And when our family is no more, all of his unborn brothers dead,
Every niece and nephew scattered, the house torn down,
His mother's beauty ashes in the air,
I want you to stand among strangers, all young and emphemeral to you,
Silently keeping the secret of your birth.



Poem topics: , , , , , , , , ,

Rate this poem:

Add Planting A Sequoia poem to your favorites

Add Poet Dana Gioia to your favorites

Similar Poems
There is no similar poems related to "Planting A Sequoia" poem.
All Dana Gioia Poems

Popular Poets

David Herbert Lawrence (0 poems)
Jean Cocteau (1 poems)
Nick Flynn (3 poems)
blackmagicexpert mamashania (0 poems)
C.J. Sage (3 poems)
Thomas Campion (11 poems)
Lady Anne Lindsay (1 poems)
John Myers O'Hara (5 poems)
Kalidasa (1 poems)
Sir Philip Sidney (40 poems)

Popular Poems

The Gossips, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Fairy Tale, by Katherine Mansfield
Our Own Flag, by Banjo Paterson
Ch 05 On Love And Youth Story 04, by Saadi Shirazi
A Summer Pastoral, by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Idylls Of The King: The Last Tournament (Excerpt), by Alfred Lord Tennyson
A New Girl Up At WhiteĆ¢??s, by Edward George Dyson
To His Honour The Lieutenant-Governor, On The Death Of His Lady, by Phillis Wheatley
Manufactured Gods, by Carl Sandburg
An Idler, by Ambrose Bierce