What a Tree Is
“Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there….” Yeats
Nothing is just what it is.
Look at that tree.
See centuries of meaning on its bark,
Put there by poets since cave dwellers.
Those meanings stay secret
Without poets. Poets reveal them:
Scribbled on napkins and notebooks,
Composed in showers, in the park,
The poets find longing and history,
Myth and other Truths, like yeast in bread.
Look at that tree:
The aching cragginess of its branches,
The leaves shaken off and discarded.
Did you know trees lose their leaves each year
Because one winter, they would not shelter a sparrow?
Except for the pine. Peel that story right off the bark.
Give it to your children to keep. More will grow.
Two monks sat silently
Under a tree, their disciples around them.
Finally, one monk pointed up and said to the other,
“They call that a tree!” And they laughed