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.
Dana Gioia's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Planting A Sequoia by Dana Gioia )
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe
- World News, Tony Adah
- OUT OF THINGS, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- Democracy, Akhtar Jawad
- To My Sister With Love, Rubaba Mmahajia Rahma Sabtiu
- A LIAR الكذاب, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- The New Life: Stage Six Part One for Ma.., Daniel Brick
- Condolences, Elia Michael
- THE POOR PEOPLE PEOPLE ARE AMONG US, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- Human Heart, Valsa George
- Weightless, Arlyn Canones