April 16, 2015
A Man, Some Trees, an Ocean

There is a man who planted

a persimmon tree for squirrels,

a mimosa for its gossamer blossoms,

and a ginkgo because it’s the oldest


tree on the earth. This man knew

he would not see these trees mature.

He did not plant them just for himself.

He felt and looked and saw beyond


himself. He knew he was not large

but part of something much larger.

He knew he would rise in the sap

of these trees. He would not need


a name to rise higher than the ground

in which he planted the trees, higher

than the house in which he had lived,

and become a part of all that lives.


I will call him Ed, in honor

of a brother I once had

who left me and my siblings

behind because someone


he connects with us hurt him

and this also made him leave

our children and their children

behind. He had told me long ago


he would have his ashes scattered

over the deep and dark ocean

he loved and on which once

upon a time in the navy and later


in the merchant marine he loved

to sail. He knew the sea would roll on

and over him and remain larger than

himself and his spirit I pray lives on.


–Norbert Krapf (Marion County)


Norbert Krapf

Norbert Krapf, Jasper native and former Indiana Poet Laureate, lives in downtown Indianapolis. His latest of eleven poetry collections, Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet’s Journal of Healing (2014), is forthcoming in a new edition from ACTA Publications of Chicago. Winner of an Indiana Author Award 2014, he has collaborated with jazz pianist-composer Monika Herzig and bluesman Gordon Bonham.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!

Posted In: Poetry

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