Poets | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
June 30th, 2016 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 315,179 comments.
Howard Nemerov - Learning by Doing

They're taking down a tree at the front door,
The power saw is snarling at some nerves,
Whining at others. Now and then it grunts,
And sawdust falls like snow or a drift of seeds.
Rotten, they tell us, at the fork, and one
Big wind would bring it down. So what they do
They do, as usual, to do us good.
Whatever cannot carry its own weight 
Has got to go, and so on; you expect
To hear them talking next about survival
And the values of a free society.
For in the explanations people give
On these occasions there is generally some
Mean-spirited moral point, and everyone
Privately wonders if his neighbors plan
To saw him up before he falls on them.

Maybe a hundred years in sun and shower
Dismantled in a morning and let down
Out of itself a finger at a time
And then an arm, and so down to the trunk,
Until there's nothing left to hold on to
Or snub the splintery holding rope around,
And where those big green divagations were
So loftily with shadows interleaved
The absent-minded blue rains in on us.
Now that they've got it sectioned on the ground

It looks as though somebody made a plain 
Error in diagnosis, for the wood
Looks sweet and sound throughout. You couldn't know,
Of course, until you took it down. That's what
Experts are for, and these experts stand round
The giant pieces of tree as though expecting
An instruction booklet from the factory
Before they try to put it back together.

Anyhow, there it isn't, on the ground.
Next come the tractor and the crowbar crew
To extirpate what's left and fill the grave.
Maybe tomorrow grass seed will be sown.
There's some mean-spirited moral point in that
As well: you learn to bury your mistakes,
Though for a while at dusk the darkening air 
Will be with many shadows interleaved,
And pierced with a bewilderment of birds. 

Share |

Added: Apr 6 2005 | Viewed: 263 times | Comments and analysis of Learning by Doing by Howard Nemerov Comments (8)

Learning by Doing - Comments and Information

Poet: Howard Nemerov
Poem: Learning by Doing
Poem of the Day: Jul 26 2005

Comment 8 of 8, added on May 15th, 2016 at 3:28 PM.
qbtUHkvPoNqrqd

YwROdv This very blog is no doubt cool and diverting. I have picked a bunch of handy tips out of this blog. I ad love to go back over and over again. Cheers!

big dildos from Nepal
Comment 7 of 8, added on May 13th, 2016 at 11:25 AM.
WvsUNywwsHoXqkwrLgj

This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I ave joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I ave shared your web site in my social networks!

porn movies from Singapore
Comment 6 of 8, added on April 6th, 2016 at 8:11 AM.
KhdUxlKGNWjlS

LFU7QQ you ave gotten a fantastic weblog right here! would you prefer to make some invite posts on my blog?

mark editor from Liberia

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, Learning by Doing, has received 8 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Nemerov Info
Copyright © 2000-2015 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links