The Marriage in the Trees

Ecco, 1998

Many of the poems in Plumly's sixth book of poetry concern the passing of the author's parents. They have the power of the deeply personal, and are clearly, in their wisdom and mastery of form and language, the work of a mature poet, one of our finest. Images of trees and birds dominate these poems. Birds, whether remembered from childhood or spotted in a rain shower at Union Square, frequently inspire Plumly's lyrical meditations. They serve as symbols of the vitality at the abrupt edges of life. Trees stand watch over these poems as they do over the life around us, symbols of permanence amid the transience of life. Memory, history, and family are powerful presences here, the past infusing the present with questions and with meaning.