Katy Lederer's "The Heaven-Sent Leaf"
The Heaven-Sent Leaf
The speculation of contemporary life.
The teeming green of utterance. To feel this clean,
This dream-éclat. There is, in the heart, the hard-rendering profit.
As if we were plucking the leaves from the trees. Let us think of the soft verdure of the spirit of this age as now
inside of us and swollen by spring rain.
To imagine oneself as a river. To imagine oneself as a stretch of cool water,
Pouring into a basin or brain. And if one knows one is not free?
One crawls from the back of the head to the river.
And places one's finger oh so cautiously in.
About the Poem
This is a John Kenneth Galbraith quote that pretty sums up the process of writing almost all of the poems in The Heaven-Sent Leaf:
"The notion that wants do not become less urgent the more amply the individual is supplied is broadly repugnant to common sense. It is something to be believed only by those who wish to believe. Yet the conventional wisdom must be tackled on its own terrain. Intemporal comparisons of an individual's state of mind do rest on technically vulnerable ground. Who can say for sure that the deprivation which afflicts him with hunger is more painful than the deprivation which afflicts him with envy of his neighbor's new car? In the time that has passed since he was poor, his soul may have become subject to a new and deeper searing."
Katy Lederer is the author of the poetry books Winter Sex and The Heaven-Sent Leaf, as well as the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers, which was named a Best Book of the Year by Esquire Magazine.
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Poem copyright © Katy Lederer. All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.