James Dickey

Rookie (2 February 1923 – 19 January 1997 / Atlanta, Georgia)

In The Tree House At Night


And now the green household is dark.
The half-moon completely is shining
On the earth-lighted tops of the trees.
To be dead, a house must be still.
The floor and the walls wave me slowly;
I am deep in them over my head.
The needles and pine cones about me


Are full of small birds at their roundest,
Their fist without mercy gripping
Hard down through the tree to the roots
To sing back at light when they feel it.
We lie here like angels in bodies,
My brothers and I, one dead,
The other asleep from much living,


In mid-air huddled beside me.
Dark climbed to us here as we climbed
Up the nails I have hammered all day
Through the sprained, comic rungs of the ladder
Of broom handles, crate slats, and laths
Foot by foot up the trunk to the branches
Where we came out at last over lakes


Of leaves, of fields disencumbered of earth
That move with the moves of the spirit.
Each nail that sustains us I set here;
Each nail in the house is now steadied
By my dead brother’s huge, freckled hand.
Through the years, he has pointed his hammer
Up into these limbs, and told us


That we must ascend, and all lie here.
Step after step he has brought me,
Embracing the trunk as his body,
Shaking its limbs with my heartbeat,
Till the pine cones danced without wind
And fell from the branches like apples.
In the arm-slender forks of our dwelling


I breathe my live brother’s light hair.
The blanket around us becomes
As solid as stone, and it sways.
With all my heart, I close
The blue, timeless eye of my mind.
Wind springs, as my dead brother smiles
And touches the tree at the root;


A shudder of joy runs up
The trunk; the needles tingle;
One bird uncontrollably cries.
The wind changes round, and I stir
Within another’s life. Whose life?
Who is dead? Whose presence is living?
When may I fall strangely to earth,


Who am nailed to this branch by a spirit?
Can two bodies make up a third?
To sing, must I feel the world’s light?
My green, graceful bones fill the air
With sleeping birds. Alone, alone
And with them I move gently.
I move at the heart of the world.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (In The Tree House At Night by James Dickey )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  3. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  6. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  7. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. Will there really be a "Morning"?, Emily Dickinson
  10. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poem of the Day

poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. To speak untruth, hasmukh amathalal
  2. Sleep Well Love, Michael P. McParland
  3. Sleep Tight Sweet Lady, Michael P. McParland
  4. Stable in life, hasmukh amathalal
  5. Sleep Tight Dear One, Michael P. McParland
  6. Now i have a taste for eden, cristobal Benjumea
  7. Sitting Here, Michael P. McParland
  8. Simple Words 3, Michael P. McParland
  9. Simple Words 2, Michael P. McParland
  10. Simple Words, Michael P. McParland
[Hata Bildir]