Briefly Finding Home

I was a bird for a day

Not because I could fly

But because a storm

Turned my world topsy-turvy


A giant oak came crashing to earth

Leaving a hole in the sky

Where it had blocked my view

Its huge limbs sprawled

As though a body

Had fallen from heaven


They cancelled school that day

And my friends and I, playing Tarzan,

Swarmed over the tree

Like Lilliputians over Gulliver


It was as good as riding an alligator

Whose jaws had been bound

Like petting a whale

Something you only get to do

In a dream or theme park


I gathered the Spanish moss

That had dripped from the tree

Like the tangled hair of a wizard

And made a nest and climbed in

I fell asleep in the fallen treetop

A baby bird safe under the mother’s wing


This is how the world

Shows itself sometimes

You strain to look up, to climb

Then the tree, like the mountain

Comes down to you

Bringing an intimacy

Letting you touch it

Your hand in the wound


-Carol Flake Chapman


Carol Flake Chapman has found that the language of poetry is the language of deep connection to the natural world and a way of expressing grief at the loss of so many of our plants and animals.