So a pattern book for Rowan yarn came in the mail Tuesday, and it sparked a discussion with my dad as to where he’d been reading about rowans. Since I’m steeped in Druidic lore, I volunteered it was one of the five sacred trees of the Druids (along with oak, ash, alder, and yew) and that here in the West, it’s called a mountain ash.
Oaks then reminded me of this Jorie Graham poem, called Le Manteau de Pascal which uses excerpts from Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ journal entry about oak trees. (Hopkins, of course, was a Victorian poet who converted to Catholicism and wrote a lot of excellent sonnets.) The title, Le Manteau de Pascal, refers to the story about Blaise Pascal, who sewed into the lining of his coat (his manteau) either irrefutable proof of the existence of God or (depending on the version of the story you go with) written confirmation of his conversion.
In any case, it’s a dense poem and deals with doubt and trees and anxiety. And stuff. (Just look where knitting will get you–paganism and post-modern poems!)