twenty-ninth may ~~~~~   Leave a comment

Page Fifteen


The birch outside my window here
belongs to a barfly, not to me.
I have no right or day or hour
to take up care of bark and branch.
In law the tree belongs to him,
to kill or spare is his caprice.
The law does not demand he love
or need or save a plain white birch.
These birds no nothing of the law,
and lacking this, they claim the tree,
and bring alive its every branch,
and in their birch-life comfort me.
This tree is half the world for me.
I stare it down through hollow hours,
and shallow hours drone on and on,
in which I smile for birds and tree.
And on a certain winter night
when ice fell from my birthday sky,
the winter bones of one white birch
glowed orange from a backdoor light,
glowed sparkles in an orange art,
ensorcelling a dismal night,
endazzling a shattered heart.
Who owns the tree by right of law:
the man who never touches it,
or stands to look up to its leaves,
or sees its branches wrapped in ice,
or sugared with a wonder-snow.
By right of law a loveless man
can claim this birch and hack it down.
Who owns the tree by right of flight,
by right of need for branch and leaf.
Who owns it for the nests of young,
for taking rest and shade and help.
Who owns this tree by right of love,
and peanuts left out on the ledge
for birds to come and grab and take
to tree-branch, where they stop and eat.
Who owns the tree by right of tears
on dismal nights of orange ice,
or sugar snow in backdoor light,
or maydays watching nests be built,
and bird-talk all the morning long. 
Who mourns a birch if it should go.
The birds will find another tree;
their flight permits them wealth of choice.
They need the tree but cannot love
the things I hold to heart and eyes;
the things for which my eyes have teared,
the things to which my heart has reached
to touch an ice-enchanted branch,
to touch a nuthatch wet with rain,
to laugh at hungry bluejay greed.
Their own bird-sounds they cannot know
as music and companion’s words,
as voices in the hollow hours
and jesters in the shallow days.
Who owns the tree, and by what right.
The right of law, the right of need,
and then, as least, the right of love.
As last and least, the right of love. 
As last and least, the heart of me
can whisper:
but I own this tree.
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Posted May 30, 2011 by mishibone, braon, braonthree, sehnen in poetry

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