“Beech Leaves in Winter” - Clela Reed


“Beech Leaves in Winter” - Clela Reed

Most of what I know of God
is in the pale leaves of the beech tree,
the way they hold on all winter,
golden in sunlight against drab trunks
and empty branches,
warm clouds layered
through the gray-cold of the forest.

Marcescense, the botanists call it:
An absence of barrier skin
where leaf joins limb.
Without it, release rips open wounds,
so the leaves hold tight
against the winds and rain,
let the snow clump and then melt away,

I know intent belies the science,
but what accounts for beauty?
And what in their flickering light lifts in me
both courage and inexplicable sadness?


Clela Reed will be reading at the Poetry and Nature event on September 14 at the Special Collections Library, UGA campus. She will be joined by Philip Lee Williams, Robert Ambrose, Jr., and John Pickering. The free event begins at 7 pm, with a reception following. The evening is sponsored by Athens Word of Mouth and Friends of the Georgia Natural History Museum.

Clela Reed is the author of four collections of poetry. Her full-length books are "Dancing on the Rim" (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2009) and "The Hero of the Revolution Serves Us Tea" (Negative Capability Press, 2014); chapbooks are "Bloodline" (Evening Street Press, 2009) and "Of Root and Sky" (Pudding House Publications, 2010). She has had poems published in The Cortland Review, The Atlanta Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Caesura Literary Magazine, The Literati Review, Storysouth Journal, Clapboard House Literary Journal, and several others. "The Hero of the Revolution Serves Us Tea" is a collection of poems and photographs based on her Peace Corps service in Romania, during which Clela wrote weekly in a blog: www.clelainromania.blogspot.com.

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