A Tree in Winter

Winter has come to this place
and I to it am bound, finding not
one last brilliant leaf believing
it would never grace the ground.
Traversing a cold so still, the only sound
our trampling, in clumsy sacrilege,
shriveled foliage that just weeks ago
filtered autumn light
like glass stained by the master’s hand,
now crunching to dust under our boots.

The chorus of insects has departed, and
the maiden retreated to her bed –
shedding her evening finery
like so much heavy luxury,
dropping the jewels from her head.
This tree in summertime contains
a universe of life: each layer a ring,
and yet today all that remains
is scaffolding.

But old roots run deep, and soon
the sun in its course will linger once again
upon these barren branches
to coax the buds of spring.
Nature’s chorus will arise
to call the maiden from her dreams,
and out of the dust of planets
new life will emerge to build
another universe of green.

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