Evening Poetry, February 29

White Oaks Ascending

by Stanley Plumly

In the mind-weave,

at a thousand, ten

thousand feet, they all

lean in on one another,

snowy, hollow, still

gothic with winter.

and the few torn leaves

starved neutral back

into the spring before

this one, the one long since

gone black under the ice,

hold on, mark time–

they’ll fall eventually,

once, twice, and

turn dark green again,

slowly, in detail.

And the few songbirds,

with their clear glass eyes

and heartbreaking voices,

stationed out of sight

in the high, cold crowns–

they’ll sing true again,

and fly and fall to earth

awhile among the human.

And this is promised

too, that the wind left

trapped in the blue

alleys of the branches

will climb and clarify

in the still and risen air.

Let the stone gods

in their fountains

turn like clockwork–

they’re no less rooted

in the rain, nor their marble

less perfection of the snow–

let the clay gods circle

in the fire. The body

piecemeal falls away;

the spirit, in the privacy

of dark, sheds all its leaves.

I died, I climbed a tree, I sang.

You can find this in Poems About Trees.