Monday, August 8, 2016

Special Feature: "Under the 400-Year-Old Ponderosa Pine" by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Contest Judge

A 400-year-old Ponderosa Pine in Rocky Mountain National Park
Under the 400-Year-Old Ponderosa Pine
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Contest Judge

What have your roots
died toward? A desert

of branches, rock for
the resting magpie,

a bundle of white flowers
at your base from the light

broken though lost limbs,
generations of pine needles,

all of you a miracle of swirl
sideways, bark that expands

in breath, branches extended
all directions, the space

you hold composed
of the first night chill.

When it is you first knew
the changing territory of the sky,

of light itself, a gesture of time
witnessing your passage
over this mountain?

Poet's Notes: I first drafted this over ten years ago while enjoying an artist residency at Rocky Mountain National Park, where I was writing to all I saw around me. This old Ponderosa pine blew me away with its size, age, beauty and presence, and it was just a little up the mountain behind the cabin where I was staying. I would regularly sit beneath it and write, and eventually, I wrote to it. 

Editor's Note:  Learn more about old ponderosa pines here:  http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr109.pdf.

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