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, 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!