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extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
The Trees Are Pulling Up Their Roots
The trees are pulling up their roots,
not waiting for the end.
They always did have cultures of their own,
could calculate at dusk how much
of every vital nourishment they'd need
to see them through the night. Not only that,
they knew to make the hard decisions
when reservoirs ran low.
And now in pulling up their roots
they have a purpose loud and clear --
though quite mysterious to us.
They've pushed their complex mathematics
far beyond their world, investigated ours
and made their careful audits, sensed
what we still doubt -- or so dishonestly debate.
They've fixed their faith in life's finality.
Perhaps they've other thought forms underground --
their leaves a product of some secret art,
and not what we had thought. For sure
they had their land art long before
we had the nous to think of ours.
The oaks and redwoods lead the way,
the smaller trees, like children in their play,
do what they see the grown-ups do.
They were the first to feel earth tremble at the thought
of what must come to pass, the first to catch
the note of grief the trembling portrayed,
and were the first to say 'tis time to go at last!
They'd watched the birds fly off much earlier this year,
leaves drop like dead flies shrivelled by the sun;
they'd caught the resignation that we fear
when what's to come can't hold a candle to the past.