What do you notice about how you behave in times of conflict? Do you tend toward avoidance? Or compromise? Or collaboration? Or competition? Or accommodation?
This poem describes a conflict between neighbors: a tree hangs over a fence. The owners love this tree; their neighbors don’t. Somebody responds directly, somebody else avoids, a chainsaw appears. Suddenly this conflict becomes a parable for all conflicts, illustrating how deep they can go and how often they cannot be resolved with a question about what to do.
Philip Metres – is the author of Shrapnel Maps, Sand Opera, and The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations, and received three Arab American Book Awards, the Adrienne Rich Award, and the Hunt Prize. He is a professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University.
Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.