To Praise the Music (William Bronk)

September 15, 2008

Evening. The trees in late winter bare
against the sky. Still light, the sky.
Trees dark against it. A few leaves
on the trees. Tension in their rigid branches as if
–oh, it is all as if, but as if, yes,
as if they sang songs, as if they praised.
Oh, I envy them. I know the songs.

As if I know some other things besides.
As if; but I don’t know, not more
than to say the trees know. The trees don’t know
and neither do I. What is it keeps me from praise?
I praise. If only to say their songs,
say yes to them, to praise the songs they sing.
Envied music. I sing to praise their song.


Most of Bronks lines, it seems to me, are rigid branches, taut with philisophical questions which hang like invisible fruit. Their weight is everywhere evident even without metaphor, without “as if.” Stopping himself, the poet considers the imagination’s play upon reality. “It is all as if.” Still, he knows some things, even as he negates that knowing. Knows enough to fault his own capacity to praise, knows enough to say yes, as all poets must. To praise their song, in praising, finds that even envied music sings.

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