Une Vieille Dame

She is stark to the bone,

gaunt in Gethsemane,

like fibrous lightning

honed by tungsten winds

against inconstant skies,

still tall among her peers,

still proud among

the juvenescent hazel sprigs

and serpent's tooth brambles

straining for sunlight,

frantic for foliation,

unwooed by warmth.


Today, no budding veil,

no wedding weeds,

digits frost-bitten to the half-moons

in wicked winter's dogged

ice-scorched breath.

It had to come, this severance,

after long years of arms outstretched

to draw unruly progeny

to her gnarled and knowing bosom,

covering with wisdom's mantle

errors of riotous exuberance.

What flowering of Grace!


She is a skeletal shrine

and, two springs ago, shared

a beneficent transfiguration.

Despise not my vintage years,

she said, for Nature arrays me

as no other tree in Holy Week.

Remember me when you are sad

and stranded in the wilderness

between two ways, unseeing.

When sap shall fall and powers fail

and soured earth receive my leaves,

my legacy is ever Blossom.



First blossom and bluebells, May Day, 2013