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Robert Black Poem on NPR

Writers Forum

Listen to NPR 's Garrison Keillor read a poem written by Writers Forum Co-Director Ralph Black (mp3 format).


Here's a poem for today by Ralph Black entitled "Three Questions".

How can it be
that the one sure thing
worth repeating
from a year that slips
between the hands
like kite string,
and is hauled into
the next like a
favorite kite,
is what I think is
a Japanese maple
from the far end
of November,
firing through half
a suburban block
with its not yet burnt-
through extravagance
of orange? Or that
that one tree on
that one block
seen on that one day
in the course of
this one short life
is enough, though clearly,
despite the lies
its leaves are, or
my need to trust
the impossible stories
hanging from its limbs,
it is enough? Or even
that the world, even
this one, can offer so little and
so much at once
and mean them both?

A poem by Ralph Black, "Three Questions" from his Turning Over The Earth published by Milkweed Editions. Used by permission here on The Writer's Almanac produced by Minnesota Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International. Be well. Do good work. And keep in touch.

Last Updated 1/13/15