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How Silent the Trees

by Wyn Cooper

for Liam Rector, 1949–2007


How the hell are you, I want
to ask but can’t—you’re dead.

How hard the snow fell,
how slowly it melts.

How to tie a knot big enough
to choke the wild pain.

How to listen carelessly
to words used carefully.

How philosophy handles death:
with great reluctance.

How answers to questions
often contain no answer.

How to wind a watch
so tight time stops.

How silent the trees, how
loud the shots of hunters.

 

Wyn Cooper’s fourth book of poems, Chaos is the New Calm, was published by BOA Editions in 2010. His poems appear in twenty-five anthologies of contemporary poetry. He has taught at Bennington and Marlboro Colleges, the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, the University of Utah, and the Frost Place. He has written songs with Sheryl Crow, David Broza, Jody Redhage, and David Baerwald. Songs from his two CDs with Madison Smartt Bell can be heard on six television shows. He lives in Vermont and most recently worked for the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, a think tank run by the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. (8/2012)


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