Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Men Discussing the Care of a Tree

I was gifted this oak, said the man standing at the foot of the great tree. 
But lovely as it is, it ticks.

The wise old gardener embraced the tree and placed his ear to the trunk
to measure the whir and cadence of tooth and strike lever.
She is ready to send out a new branch, he said.

She has branches enough, said the man. 
And I haven’t the patience for more ticking.
How do you make a tree silent?

Do nothing, the gardener replied sadly.
Eventually the count wheel will dissolve
into the heartwood and you will not notice
the ticking branch bearing its invisible nest
of dumb red-breasts. You will smell spring’s blind blossoms,
hear only the absent creak of swinging rope
in summer that will not bear up your grandchildren,
and the tinny autumn rustle of iron pyrite leaves
that never tarnished on the branch will no longer haunt you.

The man breathed a sigh of relief.
What shall I do with her then? he asked.

The only thing you can, said the gardener.
Cut her down and polish her into a mast fit for
a fine warship that will carry you away
on silent waters that do not teem with life
to lands with empty rooms
where you will not sleep
for the absence of crying babes in the night.

1 comment:

  1. i still really like this. i think it's pretty and even if it's not your usual style it's fun to get out of your comfort zone sometimes and make something completely different!

    plus i didn't mention it before but i really like the interaction between the old gardener and the man?? i don't know why it's just really, really good. and the imagery is really nice. you are an amazing poet, this is just chock full of emotion aaaaa

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