Emily Warn

Talking with the Gigantic Maple About the Dragonfly

 

Neither you
nor I
can mimic
a dragonfly
though your seed-wings
clack
like their wings
when they take off
in unison
to practice backflips
above the lake.

Nor can we balance
on a single blade
of shore grass,
admiring ourselves
to shame the lake
into polishing its mirror.

But we can be still
and hear the quiet
between
two echoing thrush.

And in the hush
of our leaves
and breaths
conjoined,
we can see
universes
in the dragonfly’s
eight eyes.

 

(from “Flowering Branches” in The Novice Insomniac (Copper Canyon 1996))
“I stood where you would not see me
And my armload of flowers.”

 

For Emily Warn, poetry links music and meaning every bit as powerfully and oddly as religious traditions do, inventing complicated, invisible relations. She moved to the Pacific Northwest 1978 to work for North Cascades National Park, and a year later moved to Seattle where she has lived, more or less ever since. Sherecently served as the Webby Award–winning founding editor of poetryfoundation.org, and now divides her time between Seattle and Twisp, Washington. Warn has published five collections of poetry, including three books: The Leaf Path (1982),The Novice Insomniac (1996) and Shadow Architect (2008), all from Copper Canyon Press, and two chapbooks The Book of Esther (1986) and Highway Suite (1987). Her essays and poems appear widely, including in PoetryBookForumBlackbird, ParabolaThe Seattle Times, The Writers’ Almanac. She has taught creative writing or served as writer-in-residence at many schools and arts centers. She was educated at Kalamazoo College and the University of Washington, and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

 


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