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