Survival by Joan Conway

(For Noreen)

the first cabin she built
in the clearing
where a cottonwood grew.

chain sawed the trunk below earth’s level,
covered it with soil and poured cement
years later the floor cracked,
out popped a small seedling
she watered it,
watched its courageous search for light.

it did not survive
but she learned resilience.

the value of reaching for things
regardless of the outcome.

she tells me this story
over coffee, her rough hands
clasping the mug,
fingers worn, creases
weathered as tree bark.


Copyright © Joan Conway. Originally published in Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees (League of Canadian Poets, 2018).


Joan Conway is deeply rooted in northwestern British Columbia. The unique culture and geography of this place strongly influences her work.

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