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A Courtyard in Taos
Linda K. Thompson

I cannot say why this cottonwood
reminds me of my father.
It may be the sturdiness,
the solid comfort with which it plants itself
upon the earth.
It may be the limbs
that take up more than half the sky,
wide and strong enough to hold a house.
I cannot say why this thick and canyoned bark
reminds me of my father’s freckled shoulders
as he straddled a kitchen chair
and waited for mother to cut his hair.
I cannot say why I imagine
I will hear a deep humming
if I press against this trunk
and it will be as if I am resting my head
against my father’s chest,
listening to his great heart
numbering off his days.

From Four Small People in Sturdy Shoes (2014).
hosen for "200 New Mexico Poems" website.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Linda K. Thompson calls herself "a plain spoken poet.”  A long-time resident of Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island, she grew up on the mainland in the Pemberton Valley, an experience which has been the basis for many of her poems. Linda loves traveling and writing, and indulges those twin passions by attending poetry retreats whenever she can. Her chapbook, Four Small People in Sturdy Shoes, was published last year. Learn more about Linda at


Post New Comment:
Posted 06/20/2015 08:38 AM
I wonder how many parents are remembered as beautifully as this. Reading this has been a lovely start to a windy day.
Posted 06/20/2015 12:53 AM
Judith Heron:
Oh, this one again! I never tire of reading it for all the reasons listed so plainly below. And for the pure love of you!
Posted 06/19/2015 01:19 PM
This is a solid, well grained poem that contains the smell and sweetness, the strength and the love for your father. Thanks, Linda, and so good to see you here!
Posted 06/19/2015 09:44 AM
wendy morton:
we are all listening to his great heart and yours.
Posted 06/19/2015 09:08 AM
Wilda Morris:
A beautifully written tribute to her father. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
Posted 06/19/2015 08:48 AM
lovely, unique.
Posted 06/19/2015 08:40 AM
Larry Schug:
I would be honored to be compared to a strong, old, gnarled cottonwood tree and even more honored if done in such a magnificent way. Your father taught you well, Linda.
Posted 06/19/2015 07:44 AM
I like this to read over and over!
Posted 06/19/2015 07:18 AM
Beautifully done. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Posted 06/19/2015 07:11 AM
Glen Sorestad:
This is so well sustained, Linda -- like drawiwng in a huge breath and just remembering.
Posted 06/19/2015 06:55 AM
Posted 06/19/2015 05:47 AM
What a beautiful tribute. 'Enjoyed reading this with my morning coffee!
Posted 06/19/2015 05:25 AM
This is sublime.
Posted 06/19/2015 03:23 AM

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