0062 Robinia Pseudoacacia Alba - Poem by Michael Shepherd
Its trunk is right next to the front gate
so that as I go out, there's a faint flicker
of guilt and anger - next door's insurance company
want me to have it cut down, which I resent; it's just
so beautiful. It calls out love.
All of four feet high when I bought it,
slender, almost unnoticeable, and a glorious mistake
since I'd confused it with a 'real' slow-growing acacia;
now it towers over the house, superb, generous and delicate,
gently shaken by the breeze as if to speak of eternal youth.
It's the one you see punctuating with its bright green fountain,
urban 'developments'; unaffected even a few feet from a 24-hour freeway, as incongruously itself as a geisha at a bus stop.
It hasn't forgotten it's really a forest tree, and reminds us daily
with aristocratic pride and a generous beauty,
which should shame those same 'developers'
who know it'll melt the hearts of photographers and clients alike...
If I pause at the gate, I see its bark - rough, pitted, gouged,
as if it has put in a lifetime of the most arduous work
to shame our human lives. An older substance
than a human lifetime, too; the more you look at it,
the more ancient in its knowledge.
What is it protecting, like some old and wizened man,
his arms around his grandchild? Within this aged bark, in some mysterious, magic way, substances are on the move; so well
protected, and disguised - to unfold, like some divine magician,
those delicate, pale green fronds of leaves, through which
the morning sun shines translucent like an unearned blessing.
At night, its leaves fold up upon themselves
as hands in prayer. This is a tree to love. And it is loved.
It deserves this poem; which though it may not be divinely inspired,
celebrates a tree which surely is. And there we meet.
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