poetry and prose about place


with 8 comments

This time of year, along the St. John River, we watch for floodwaters.  For some, whose homes may be threatened by the flood, this means worry.  For others, it means a road along the river may be closed until the waters recede.  For me, it is a time to watch for the return of the Canada Geese.  It is also a time to see what interesting cargo the floodwaters carry.

All along the river, there will be huge wheels of root… the remains of trees ripped from the river’s banks and carried along with the floodwaters.  These ‘root wheels’ come to rest on the river’s edges, stranded by the falling waters.  Washed clean of the soil, the roots show us the underpinnings of the trees and reveal what goes on beneath the ground, where we ordinarily cannot see.





another scar

in the clearcut


one crooked pine

left sentinel

to watch shoots and brambles

scramble for sun


wind thrown in silence

(no ears to hear)


patted in by Boy Scouts



roots and fibre, exposed

clots of clay

dripping rock, wounded

rootlets, oozing sap


overturned war wagon

mighty axle, broken

wheel of matted roots, still

spinning, earth upended


a crater dug in regolith


a new shelter

from the wind, rain

sprouting seeds

in mineral

and fallen leaves



Published as: ‘Windthrow’, The Cormorant XI (1): 100 (Fall 94)

©  Jane Tims 1994

Written by jane tims

April 2, 2012 at 6:23 am

8 Responses

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  1. I’d never heard them called ‘root wheels’ before, nice name for them!


    Watching Seasons

    April 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm

  2. “Wheels of root.” That’s a great name for them. I used to live by a river and spring was when I’d wander along the shore, looking to see what the floods brought in.

    Wonderful poem, Jane.



    April 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    • Hi Robin. I wonder if there is anything that hasn’t shown up on a flood shore at one time or another! Thanks, Jane


      jane tims

      April 5, 2012 at 6:50 am

  3. The poem is wonderful! Great rhythm, great images. I love that I had to look up the word “regolith” in the dictionary.



    April 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    • Hi. Thanks! I think words about geology are only surpassed by words about plants. Jane


      jane tims

      April 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm

  4. Lovely poem and post, Jane.



    April 2, 2012 at 8:29 am

    • Hi. I saw your new painting on my Tags survey this morning. Your work is instantly recognizable. Jane


      jane tims

      April 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm

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