I cannot say why this cottonwood
reminds me of my father.
It may be the sturdiness,
the solid comfort with which it plants itself
upon the earth.
It may be the limbs
that take up more than half the sky,
wide and strong enough to hold a house.
I cannot say why this thick and canyoned bark
reminds me of my father’s freckled shoulders
as he straddled a kitchen chair
and waited for mother to cut his hair.
I cannot say why I imagine
I will hear a deep humming
if I press against this trunk
and it will be as if I am resting my head
against my father’s chest,
listening to his great heart
numbering off his days.
Linda Thompson lives on Vancouver Island in BC. She has attended two writing workshops with Ellen Bass and Marie Howe at the Mable Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico where these poems first saw the desert light. Linda has been published in several Canadian anthologies.
8 thoughts on “#48 A Courtyard In Taos by Linda Thompson”
Oh, Linda…this father you describe I once knew also…in a far distant place, before my time. You tell me of him so perfectly, he is both yours and mine. Thank you.
Your ‘sis’ Judith
Hi Linda, Thank your for writing this poem. I, too, wrote a poem about my father when he spoke to me as a Jeffery pine while attending The Squaw Valley Writing Workshop. Isn’t it wonderful how they have never left us, reappearing in words we put on the page! The desert light also got me when I first came out to do writing at Ghost Ranch and Taos, so much so, I now live out here. Thanks Again, Kayce Verde
Thank you for your lovely comments, Kayce. Its true, isn’t it? Our fathers come back to us in the poems. I love to be able to share him with others in this way. All the best, Linda Thompson
I too can hear that wondrous hum when I place my ear against this poem
It speaks to the miracle of poetry so beautifully – we cannot say why this reminds us of that, it simply does; and in giving it words we all understand.
Gorgeous, controlled extended metaphor. Linda, you have crafted something very beautiful and memorable here. That tree so strong, finely detailed in your poem. And so eternal. This is a beautiful gift to your father. (Who has now become our father and many people’s father, through the strange way things happen in the reading of poetry). The editors of this page deserve congratulations for choosing this fine pem.
Beautiful. I knew your father a little, so I recognize him in this poem, but even more, I recognize the feel of a strong and loving father and how fortunate we both were to have them. I envy your power to bring them back to us with words.
Thank you, Terry, for your lovely comments on this poem. Our fathers were very similiar, weren’t they? Big, strong, quiet men who loved their wives and children without limit. All best, Linda