Here is “Poplar Grove” with thanks to my talented son Gabe for recording and to Kye Marshall for her lovely cello accompaniment.

Poplar Grove

for R.F.

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

their obstacle.


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.