A Favorite Poem

Facebook, this morning, posted a link in my news feed of lines of famous poems. The link seemed to suggest today was World Poetry Day (it isn’t). But the link, to an article in the Independent, led to lines that someone deemed “the most powerful lines” of poetry “ever written”. I was intrigued that one of the poems, “A girl” by Ezra Pound, was on the list.

Years ago (when I was 19) I was surprised to find myself doing very well in first year English at a community college. In the second term, the instructor told me I might select any poem to study, and then write about in a term paper. I spent a long time reading poems, and finally settled on “A girl.” Had no idea it was famous or considered “powerful”. I remember thinking it was obscure.

Haven’t thought about this poem or the memories associated with it in 38 years, until this morning. I remember the instructor asking me why I had chosen that particular poem. I was too embarrassed to explain that I had been looking at all of the poems  through the lens of a lovelorn boy, pining over a girl who lived at the end of the street.

Looked up the poem, thanks to the Internet, and it’s still as great today as it was back then.

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast –
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child – so high – you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

Ezra Pound