Without a heart, they cannot break as we do.
And without dreams, they love the way that soil loves,
They are the warmth of movement in our decay.
But we are burdened by a thought and an image
that expires in a sad flame.
We are what they diligently tear and scatter
in an undergrowth of dead years,
awaiting the mouths of their relentless love.
I gather about me a moss of need,
sentiment, dream and craving.
Like the rock of afflicted mollusks,
I am a burden of sea, a salt trailed by wounds.
The clay of accumulated sorrow spoils my form.
But they are nature’s perfected coil,
the smooth and frightening form of life without remorse.
Everything else is unrequired.
I do not want a bone of song.
I no longer desire a midday loaded with light.
Beneath a country of moist leaves,
I seek transformation, like you,
to outlive the skeleton of my death,
to be a raw and glistening nerve under the moon.
On a bitter leaf, I struggled from
a chrysalis of memory.
Everywhere, wings were blooming.
The rain comes down upon my leaves
and my dry center
shrinks about my roots,
and all the insects and
lizards pull themselves
into the rough old folds
of my trunk.
I am the meaning of shelter,
refuge for all the harried,
when the world,
in her sullen rejecting mood,
shoves them beyond her
with palms of wind.
In my twisted and weary branches,
do you not see your own pain,
Do you feel how the universe,
presses down upon us both,
that heavy eternity
which only wants to rest and cease:
and we both must carry
its thousand-fold, weeping moons.
Man, you forget me,
your original bearer,
and huddle instead
under the skin
of my dead brothers,
and dam up my streams,
so that the rain
might not touch you.
The waters beside me
fill with your discarded effort:
those things that
sustain you barely.
And each year
fewer and fewer insects
scuttle about my infinite trunk.
When they have taken
all their colours
and burrowed deep
beneath the earth, at last,
what then will I shelter,
what precious things will I keep?
Are we not both,
you and I, man,
perishing with the
things we are losing?
Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014