when great trees fall

I have always believed in the power of the written word. Some words, when arranged and combined in just the right way, and read at a time when you need them most, have the ability to really speak to you. I love it when this happens.

One of Owen’s favourite people sent this poem to us when we were having a particularly tough day. We keep her in that pocket that I referred to last week. You know, that one that keeps your heart protected when you need it most. Yeah, that one.

When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly.  Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better.  For they existed.

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3 thoughts on “when great trees fall

  1. typhaine April 12, 2015 / 6:19 am

    Such a powerful poem. I shared it on my blog some months ago because it had had such a profound effect on me… And it still does. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Burning Eye April 14, 2015 / 9:53 am

    That’s a beautiful poem, not one of hers I’ve read before. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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