Monday, December 1, 2014

Trees Taught Me How to Be Thankful (a belated Thanksgiving poem)

As if I were going to let Thanksgiving pass without some vaguely-related poem about it. I'm deep in the arms of Christmas now, so before I begin cranking out whatever Christmas poetry my Muse inspires in me, have a poem that may or may not actually be about Thanksgiving so much as the unconditional thankfulness that I've found a desire for in my relationship with Christ. Or maybe it's just an excuse to use the line 'tendrils of blossom and knot.' The world may never know...


Trees Taught Me How to Be Thankful

Its fingers tipped with wind, November
plucks handfuls of autumn from its quarry,
leaves them to the ghosts of rain and tannin.

Elm rattles the bones made bare in its theft,
and there's no lauded vermilion
to clothe the maple's motherly scars, but…
these boughs. These tendrils of blossom and knot.

They snake their leafless lengths skyward,
welcome the sympathy surely read in things
that moan on their behalf and wet furrowed branches
rising despite the weight of their loss,

as if something evergreen ringed that deciduous skin,
these limbs that know no other posture in winter's
stricken throes than that which lifted Heaven
when thanks came easy as their leaves.

November's bitter fistfuls may be promises born
before trunk or bough, but what is that in light of spring?–
the impending sprout and bloom awaiting upraised arms.

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