Evening Poetry, February 19

The Tree That Became a House

by John Haines

They came to live in me

who never lived in the woods before.

They kindled a fire

in my roots and branches,

held out their hands

never cramped by the weight of an axe.

The flames lighted a clearing

in the dark overhead, a sky of wood;

they burned in me a little hollow

like a moon of ash.

I stand here fastened in a living box,

half of my dream life

with finches, wind and fog–

an endless swaying,

divided in the walls that keep them,

in the floors that hold them up,

in the sills they lean upon.

The children look out in wonder

at trees shouldering

black against the starlight;

they speak in whispers,

searching the forest of sleep.

My split heart creaks in the night

around them,

my dead cones drop in silence.

You can find this poem in Poems About Trees.