Saturday, February 01, 2014

Diana Der-Hovanessian: California Forest

What drew so many Armenians to California?

It was the walnut trees, the poet said,
on foreign soil, whose branches spread
to feed foreigners and thus be fed.

And, said the planters, the apricot and peach,
honeyed globes of grapes match
our sweet tasting speech.

No, said the Indians, the sequoia trees,
hollowed by lightning fires, these
oldest growing things, put you at ease.

The sequoias growing past the line
of snow, towering over black-oak, vine-
hung manzanita, and incense pine,

voiceless, after fire, age after age,
witnesses, like you, of wrath and rage.

This work has appeared in Graham House Review, Spring 1990. 

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