The Branch Delicate
E.B. White, Trees of Winter
Oh, they are lovely trees that wait
In the still hall of winter,
Silent and good where the Good Planter
Fixed the root, wove the branch delicate.
Friendly the birches in the thin light
By the frost sanctified,
And here, too, silent by their side,
I stand in the woods listening, upright,
Hearing in the cold of the long pause
Of the full year
What trees intend that I should hear:
Interpretations of old laws…
Hearing the faint, the chickadee cry
Of root that molders,
Of branch bent, and leaf that withers
And little brown seed that does not die.
The cadence of this poem transports me to a great open-roofed cathedral, in which the trees are the pillars and the Planter the unseen celebrant. I stand under the bare, arching branches, the only human for miles, wrapped in a solitude dense with an almost-tangible Presence.
It is good to be here, just to breathe, just to be. All shall be well. It is good to know that this is the place ordained for me to be, for a season. All shall be well. It is good to commune with the trees in this vast stillness, to partake in the mystery of the falling leaf and the moldering root and the seed biding its time. All manner of thing shall be well.
This piece was originally posted on http://www.allninemuses.wordpress.com, the lovely blog of a lovely lady, Kelly Belmonte, without whose encouragement I would not be where I am today.