The Tree of Me

Were I a tree, what tree would I be?
Scrub pine, redwood, Joshua tree?
Scrawny mesquite with dagger-long thorns?
Yggdrasil world tree watered by Norns?
Dragon tree, maybe, home to my guide,
Juniper tree where the bird-boy died,
Tree of the Hesperides (dragon there, too!),
Long-lived, friendly big bamboo,
Birthplace of man in the Philippine tale,
Or the parable’s willow that bows to the gale,
But perhaps I am none of these; something unique
With fruit-heavy limbs hanging over a creek
May describe me best – it’s a heady wine
I offer the birds on which to dine
And drunk on my spirits they sing and dance
And follow the oracle, choice or chance
To distant lands, where the seeds go plop!
Beside distant creeks into fertile slop
And they sprout from the mud in novel forms
None like the others, outside the norms,
Each one displaying a type of me
That isn’t displayed in this old tree.
For here is the truth that every tree knows:
The bends of the branches as they grow
Fix us fast to the choices made,
This-not-that, a song that’s played
Instead of another: but in the heart
Are all the infinite ways of art
And the roots go down to the planet’s core
While the limbs stretch millions of miles and more
And I can’t be named as just one tree
But only as every tree that could be.


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