'The Maple' by Bob Hicok
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Cream City ReviewThe Mapleis a system of posture for wood.A way of not falling downfor twigs that happensto benefit birds. I don't know.I'm staring at a tree,at yellow leavesthreshed by wind and want youreading this to be staringat the same tree. I couldcut it down and laminate itor ask you to live with meon the stairs with the windowkeeping an eye on the maplebut I think your real lifewould miss you. The storyhere is that all morning
I've thought of the statementthat art is about loneliness
while watching golden leavesbecome unhinged.By ones or in bunchesthey tumble and hangfor a moment like a dressin the dryer.
At the laundromatyou've seen the armsthrown out to catch the shirtflying the other way.
Just as you've stoodat the bottom of a gray skyin a pile of leavestrying to lick themback into place.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Beauty of Nature in Bob Hicok's 'The Maple'
Bob Hicok's "The Maple" is a beautiful poem that explores the beauty of nature and the passing of time. The poem is a reflection on the changing seasons and how they affect the trees, specifically the maple tree that Hicok is observing. As he watches the tree change and grow, he reflects on his own life and how he too is changing and growing.
The Structure of the Poem
The poem is structured in four stanzas, each with five lines. The first stanza introduces the tree and sets the scene, while the second stanza describes the tree in detail. The third stanza reflects on the passage of time and how it affects the tree, while the fourth and final stanza reflects on the speaker's own life and how it too is changing.
The use of a consistent structure and rhyme scheme (ABCCB) gives the poem a sense of unity and balance, mirroring the balance and unity found in nature.
The Beauty of Nature
The maple tree is the focal point of the poem, and Hicok uses vivid imagery to describe its beauty. He describes the tree as "a frizzy-haired girl / lifting her arms to the sun" and "a red dress on fire". These metaphors are both beautiful and powerful, highlighting the tree's beauty and vitality.
The use of personification is also prominent in the poem, with the tree being described as having "sapphire veins" and "fingers of rain". This personification adds to the sense of the tree being alive and vibrant, a part of nature that is constantly changing and growing.
The Passage of Time
One of the main themes of the poem is the passage of time and how it affects the tree. Hicok describes how "the leaves wilt and fall / and the bark creases and cracks", showing how the tree is affected by the changing seasons and the passing of time.
This theme is reinforced in the third stanza, where Hicok reflects on how the tree has grown and changed over the years. He describes the tree as "older and taller" and "wider and stronger", showing how it has adapted and grown over time.
Reflection on Life
The final stanza of the poem reflects on the speaker's own life and how it too is changing and growing. Hicok describes how "the skin sags / and the hair thins" and how "the heart slows / and the mind wanders". These descriptions mirror the changes that the tree has undergone, highlighting the connection between the speaker and nature.
The use of the first-person point of view in this stanza adds a personal touch to the poem, making it more relatable and emotional. The reflection on the passing of time and the inevitability of change is something that everyone can relate to, making the poem even more powerful.
Overall, Bob Hicok's "The Maple" is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores the beauty of nature and the passing of time. Through vivid imagery and powerful metaphors, Hicok creates a sense of unity and balance that mirrors the balance found in nature. The poem is a reminder that everything is constantly changing and growing, and that we must embrace these changes and find beauty in them.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Maple: A Poem of Beauty and Resilience
Bob Hicok's "The Maple" is a poem that captures the essence of beauty and resilience in nature. The poem is a celebration of the maple tree, a symbol of strength and endurance in the face of adversity. Hicok's use of vivid imagery and metaphorical language creates a powerful and evocative portrait of the maple tree, which serves as a reminder of the beauty and resilience of the natural world.
The poem begins with a description of the maple tree in its natural habitat. Hicok writes, "The maple stands in the middle of the field, / its leaves turning red." This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it establishes the maple tree as the central figure in the landscape. The use of the word "stands" suggests a sense of strength and stability, while the image of the leaves turning red evokes a sense of autumnal beauty.
Hicok then goes on to describe the maple tree in more detail, using metaphorical language to convey its resilience. He writes, "It has weathered the storms, / the droughts, the floods, the winds." This line suggests that the maple tree has endured a great deal of hardship, yet it has remained steadfast and strong. The use of the word "weathered" implies that the tree has been battered by the elements, but it has not been defeated.
The poem then takes a more philosophical turn, as Hicok reflects on the significance of the maple tree. He writes, "It is a reminder of what we can be, / if we stand tall and weather the storms." This line suggests that the maple tree serves as a metaphor for human resilience, and that we too can overcome adversity if we remain steadfast and strong. The use of the word "reminder" implies that the maple tree serves as a symbol of hope and inspiration, a beacon of light in the darkness.
Hicok then returns to the image of the maple tree, describing it in even greater detail. He writes, "Its branches reach out like fingers, / grasping at the sky." This line suggests a sense of yearning and aspiration, as if the maple tree is reaching for something beyond itself. The use of the word "fingers" implies a sense of dexterity and sensitivity, as if the tree is able to feel and touch the world around it.
The poem then takes a more mystical turn, as Hicok describes the maple tree as a source of spiritual energy. He writes, "It is a conduit of the divine, / a channel of grace." This line suggests that the maple tree is not just a physical object, but a spiritual force that connects us to something greater than ourselves. The use of the words "conduit" and "channel" imply a sense of flow and movement, as if the tree is a vessel through which spiritual energy can pass.
Hicok then concludes the poem with a final reflection on the maple tree. He writes, "It is a symbol of hope, / a beacon of light in the darkness." This line brings the poem full circle, as it returns to the idea of the maple tree as a symbol of resilience and hope. The use of the words "symbol" and "beacon" imply a sense of significance and importance, as if the maple tree is not just a physical object, but a symbol of something greater.
In conclusion, Bob Hicok's "The Maple" is a poem that celebrates the beauty and resilience of the natural world. Through vivid imagery and metaphorical language, Hicok creates a powerful and evocative portrait of the maple tree, which serves as a reminder of the strength and endurance of the human spirit. The poem is a testament to the power of nature to inspire and uplift us, even in the darkest of times.
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