Roy Ernest Ballard
The Tree - Poem by Roy Ernest Ballard
When one great forest threw its cloak
across the land from sea to sea
the god who wields the thunder-stroke
was worshipped in a grove of oak
which held a sacred tree.
The acolyte with bloody hands
took up the sacrificial knife
and carved this sign in runic bands
‘You touch me not or lose your life'.
Now twisted under sun and moon,
too crooked for the saw and mill,
stars shining through its boughs at noon,
the sacred tree is living still
and bearing yet the ancient rune.
On lichened rock it still stands so,
with holly and with mistletoe,
with berries red as blood and white,
the tokens of the acolyte.
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