Posted by: Peadar Ban | March 1, 2010

Won’t You Play With Us?

Games are a part of our lives.  We play from our first hours, until our last.   I love to play, but I don’t much like competition, or winning.  I simply like playing.  When a game gets too rough, or too competitive I will simply walk over to the side and sit down.  That’s me, and I mean no judgement of anyone who isn’t built the same way.  Playing with words is a great way to “do” playing, especially when there is someone around who likes to do the same thing.

My wife and I are always playing with words.  We don’t so much do that now as before, but we used to spend several hours in a word game with no name which involved writing poetry.  We’d find a nice place to sit for a while and agree between us on the rules of a game, what form a poem might take, what subject, and so on.

Yesterday I wrote a little thing about trees and put it up, here.  You may have read it, “Trees Are So Polite.”  Before I had quite finished it I sent the first two bits to our friend, Adrian Koesters, whom we know in person and in print.  Ms. A, as we affectionately call her, is pretty good around words, herself, thank you.  And, she loves to play.   She’s also a teacher and scholar, who has helped me figger some things out about writing and stuff like that.  And, she’s never charged…

Anyway, after she’d gotten what I had written, she sent me her “answer” to the “obvious question” about why trees corkscrew to the light.  And for the next few hours we entertained each other in a kind of game.

Football’s over, and so are the Winter Games.  Now that you have absolutely nothing to do, you may wish to spectate below.

In the beginning I wrote:

“The purpose of this
Is to let you know most trees
Corkscrew to the light

And ask the question
That should seem most obvious:
What do they avoid? ”

Adrian replied:

“It’s not the earth
the corkscrew trees avoid
when they choose

one direction and not
the other, when they settle
on their purpose ”

I had already finished with my own answer so I sent it on:

“The purpose of this
Is to let you know most trees
Corkscrew to the light

And ask the question
That should seem most obvious:
What do they avoid?

And the answer is
Just as obvious to light.
It is each other.

Polite, merely, trees
Yielding, giving way at once?
Rooted golden rules? ”

This prompted Adrian to tell me:

“Yet, when the mother
cottonwood pivots her leaves
over the anemic green

of the Russian olives
below her, she reaches
in some way, she does not

seem to stand apart. ”

It took things in a different way for me, I thought.  My answer was as follows:

“Mothers, so they say,
make it their business to see
what happens nearby.

Even olives may
come under their scrutiny
though no harm is meant

and trees can be friends.”

In kind she said this:

“Fathers, we hear,
are meant to stand alone
and apart, so even

nearby we feel them
not quite rustling
as they must do, as

the leaves of a cottonwood do.”

My last (so far) attempt:

“Ah, Fathers I know
Who would not wish it were so
They should stand apart

But still closer come
Breath supply, riches and rings
Finest food for all

Who brighten heart and hall.”

There are no “sides”, no teams, no scores in this game.  The subject is Trees, Light, Growing, Mothers, Fathers, or where you are led.  Feel free to join in…

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