Five Poems

A Pine Struggles for Life on The Mountain Top 

Maybe not a struggle say but a need to bend nothing to
do  with desire this has  nothing to do with the shape of
swooning or  weeping or agony  the  branches do not in
my opinion despair they reach with their own belonging
stripped bare-bone plying on the side where the wind is
merciless some art the way it’s shaped is truly merciless
we are talking about something outside of tools outside
of  hedge  trimmers  and  chords  A  will  independent  a
shaping but what is this shaping for? No the green pine
is perfectly thriving its living part upswept its barren part
protected high up a cost must come with this elevation
not struggle not yearning just time and  element 
 

Beaver Dam and Mountain Reflection
Rocky Mountain National Park 

When the mountains are reflected they are reflected in a
dim blue. The  strange fact  is the mountains are not the
mirror  opposite   but   the   reflection   of  a  memory  of
another range. See here, if you  compare the  peaks they
are not  exact—there  appear  to  be  small  adjustments.
Every  reflection  is  suspicious  because  we’ve  seen  it
lie—that’s   what’s    dazzling,    that’s   what    holds   our
interest, which is more beautiful the water’s rendering or
the sky’s? And how can you  begin to tell the  difference?
Beavers have left a confusion of logs on the sand—long
slender teeth, fleshless  finger  bones, they  are, or could
be, the beginnings of a house.  
 

Hot Springs of Yellowstone 

Fires small, fires e verywhere  on  the  yellow  hill.  Pockets
of green. Even the  blue  sky  fails  at  cooling  what  is  not
manmade, what is not a  disaster.  Always  the  temptation
to see a matchstick house set in a vacant stretch between
lonely   trees   and   the   fire’s   scribbled-out   meaning,   a
child’s   curlicue    of    smoke    drawn,    rising   through   a
chimney.  The   earth   reclaims  all  its  chimneys  now.  I, I
have to cross myself out
. Between  the  springs,  there  are
no  connecting   verbs  or  prepositions.  Smoke  does  not
need sentences to describe—the signals wedged between
yellow and stone,  hot  and  spring,  green  and  the  yellow
land scrubbed of it. 
 

Yellowstone Canyon 
A Young River 

A young river has not lost its  name,  it  rises  in  the  black
waves—disappears   white   silky   ribbons.   The  crashing
happens  up   front,  moves   down   into   the  interior,  the
green slopes towards it—the river is both  held  up  by  the
canyon   and   charging   into   its  rock.  A  rushing  sound.
When water froths, it’s smooth  and  dangerous, the  color
is a light emerald. The sun hits the smoothness at a slant,
not  a   hill   because   there’s  nothing  to  roll  up  from.  In
greener areas, stands of trees,  belonging  fiercely,  rooted
fiercely  placed   like  a  fingerprint  in  the  corner. I  said  I
would not mention human life—this  is  not  about  human
life, this is about a young river with a long name.

Yellowstone National Park
Emerald Pool

Emerald green is a color that laps  its  smoothness around
the  banks,   where   sand   turns  hot  orange   and   maybe
there’s ice,  lumpy,  wet,  and  round  pockets  of trees sunk
in   spots,   brown,    growing   greener   towards   the   hill’s
slope. The  exact  texture  of  water  burns  and is cool, the
deposit  doesn’t  match,   it  has  too  much  electricity.  It’s
hard to get a sense of  how  and  why it arrived. Nothing in
the landscape  itself  asks  that  question.  There is a brief
patch of emerald grass direct in the sun. The water is less
odd  when  you  remember  green  isn’t  uniform, the shape
of  the  pour,   the   unmatched  water  behind it,  seems  to
arrive  out  of  nowhere.  Maybe  that’s  why  there’s  a sign
nailed, telling us  we’ve  arrived  at  something  new.  Trees
break  from  the  surface,  ice  clings  to  what breaks from
the emerald water. 
 

Photo credits:

Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, University of Texas Plant Resources Center. Austin, Texas. 

Slide: A Pine Struggles for Life on A Mountain Top
[unlabeled], A Pine Struggles for Life on A Mountain Top, [undated], Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, University of Texas Plant Resources Center. Austin, Texas.

Slide: Beaver Dam and Mountain Reflection Rocky Mt. National Park 
Scott, John D. and Van Altena, Edward, Beaver Dam & Mountain Reflection Rocky Mt. National Park, [undated], Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, University of Texas Plant Resources Center. Austin, Texas. 

Slide: The Hot Springs of the Yellow-Stone
Van Altena, Edward, The Hot Springs of the Yellow-Stone, [undated], Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, University of Texas Plant Resources Center. Austin, Texas.

Slide: Yellowstone Canyon 
[unlabeled], Yellowstone Canyon A young river, [undated], Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, University of Texas Plant Resources Center. Austin, Texas.

Slide: Yellowstone Park-Emerald Pool
[unlabeled], Yellowstone Park-Emerald Pool, [undated], Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, University of Texas Plant Resources Center. Austin, Texas.



Julie Poole

Julie Poole graduated from Columbia University and received an MFA in poetry from the New Writers Project at the University of Texas. Her first book of poems, Bright Specimen, was inspired by the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at UT and will be published by Deep Vellum in Spring 2021. Her second project, Landscapes Without Us, draws inspiration from the Moldenke Lantern Slide Collection, also held at the UT Plant Resources Center. Her website is https://www.juliepoolejp.com/.