Commonplace News Joshua Reyes

POTD: Nature 17

Day 9. Today’s poem of the day is Nature xvii.

Who robbed the woods,
The trusting woods?
The unsuspecting trees
Brought out their burrs and mosses
His fantasy to please.
He scanned their trinkets, curious,
He grasped, he bore away.
What will the solemn hemlock,
What will the fir-tree say? 1,2

This is a fun one! I’m not sure who the robber is. Is he the wind; is he Old Man Winter? He might have been me along with my hoodlum friends in high school. We spent a lot of time plundering and playing in the woods.

In any case, I like this poem a lot. It runs a good pace. There’s just enough rhyme mixed in to keep things moving. And I’ll never turn down an opening decked out with repeated wood.

The idea that hemlock is solemn makes me giggle. Imagine the face it made when hemlock killed Socrates. So of all the trees in the forest, maybe hemlock is the stickiest stick-in-the-mud. But the fir tree is a party tree. Always joyous, always bright!

This robber has hurt my friend the fir. Whoever he is, he must be stopped.

  1. Emily Dickinson. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Little, Brown, and Company. (1929) 

  2. Always ahead of her time, Emily beat out Ylvis by about 80 years. If only the internet had existed back then, she would have gone viral.