“Some trees” – by John Ashbery


These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance

To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try

To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.

And glad not to have invented
Some comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges

A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Place in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.

I like the title “some trees”,(not these trees,or the trees or trees) but “some trees”, in the sense they are some trees, not to be lightly spoken of. They are amazing,to say the least. Each joining a neighbor’s silence, while integrating in the general foliage of the wood. But still they are individual trees talking to the other trees, in the way they lean on each other,with a glint in their sunny eye.Their speech was a still performance.You and I will talk here, in a similar still performance.But the trees have something to say to us.

They tell us what we are.They tell us that their being there means something. After all they are some trees. They tell us more importantly that we may soon touch,love, explain. Their presence here tells that our talking will soon happen,our love,our explaining. Luckily we are not surrounded by a formal comeliness, a put on air of conviviality, a noisy atmosphere . We are here as far away from the world as we can make it. The trees provide a canvas filled with a chorus of smiles,against a winter morning’s quiet.

The place is in a puzzling light and seems to be moving. The way the tree’s shadows dance to the mild breeze. Our days put on such a reticence that these accents (the quietness of this place) seem their own defense.

The interesting things I have found in the poem are:

“some”, “something” (discussed earlier)

The auditory sense invoked through the poem:

A still performance

Silence already filled with noises : Read a blank canvas of silence filled with the sounds of smiles and there is nothing to fill now by way of communication between us.

The visual sense invoked

Place in a puzzling light,moving.

The puzzling light refers to the sunlight sieved through the tree branches as they gently wave in the breeze.It also may refer to the puzzling communication between us that is not filled with words.
we may touch,love,explain

Say nothing except what the trees say in their chorus of smiles or touch,love,explain.Touch leads to love and an atmosphere conducive to explaining one’s own actions to clear misunderstandings.

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