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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Timbre” by Moya Cannon

"Timbre" by Moya Cannon

Trees sing in Moya Cannon’s “Timbre,” taken from the second volume of The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry.  The poem plays on the similarities between word and wood, their shared status as vessels for memory and meaning.

Timbre

A word does not head out alone.
It is carried about the way something essential,
a blade, say, or a bowl,
is brought from here to there when there is work to be done.
Sometimes, after a long journey,
it is pressed into a different service.

A tree keeps its record
of the temper of years
well hidden.

After the timber has been sawn
rough rings release the song of the place—
droughts, good summers, long frosts—
the way pain and joy unlock in a voice.

Moya Cannon, from The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Volume II (2010)


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