As I look out my window today (October 22) my view is blocked by a Japanese Maple so covered with green leaves I can't even see the street. Farther out in the yard my aging Curly Willow, showing no sign of recognizing the austere requirements of seasonal shift, has spent the summer deftly thickening its allotment of green way past the top edge of my window. Together these trees seem quite prepared to take a stand of some sort. This is the climate of thunder storms, not blizzards, they insist.
Throw away your orange and black, your pumpkins, your ghastly and skeletal frame of mind. It's too EARLY. The sun is still out.
Well, all right. With the help of two poets, let us offer a final discreet (?) huzzah! to this year's GREEN: as climate, as weather, as biology, as geology, as joy as soul medicine, as cure. . . .
First, representing the Spanish poets' total ownership of green in all its aspects, this refrain from Federico García Lorca's The Gypsy Ballads
Verde que te quiero verde.
Just recite that while you're fending off grief or even something smaller, like a house in the middle of a river.
Poet Laurel Chen recently encountered “wild grief” in her poem Greensickness (Poem-a-Day, October 21, 2022) one of those poems where the poet attempts to write her own version of going through unbearable grief and having no clue how to deal with it. So, she tries honesty, and what emerges is truly stunning. She finds herself in a field on her hands and knees, as if beaten down and waiting for her fate:
All around me, the field was growing. I grew out
Even as the poem progresses through a set of somewhat conventional tropes against grief, she has taken this “usual response” seriously, done her emotional homework, so to speak. Thus she is not caught by her own rhetoric, but rather re-purifies it in the emotional cauldron of her deepest self.
Grief is not the only geography I know.
She saves herself by the strength of her love of green, which has been building inside her all her life.
Oh, I've loved so immensely.
By the time she reaches this stage in her relationship with grief and green, she has gone way past
reciting a prayer of supplication and rather is reciting a prayer of gratitude.