Here is “Poplar Grove” with thanks to my talented son Gabe for recording and to Kye Marshall for her lovely cello accompaniment.
After many years, my first love took me
to his favourite poplar grove.
Mist and drizzle
made coins of autumn leaves,
gold against grey sky. The hush
and breath of trees made me listen.
I know now
inosculation is the means a tree has
of growing through a fence.
While its deep-digging filaments
search through subsoil, its noble limbs
are slow and patient
as they feel around the chain-link metal,
surround it, overcome
It takes many year-rings to see this—
time in tree language is slow
as sap before thaw.
I hold a space of tree-secrets;
cool wet air in my lungs,
my ribs expanding
to exhale gratitude.
In the autumn I attend to the poplars
nourishing each other,
their shimmering leaves
settling on soggy ground
to feed the next generation.