In the wooded den of a local park
Named by a man who has not lived
Half the lifetimes of its giant dusky-limbed ancestors,
Barren tree colonnades circumscribe the shorn-footed paths,
Flinging wide their aisles in trust.
This place has been named passive
For its low development and I cannot help
But wonder over how it yields for us.
Apart from the worlds we make in our minds
There is right here another more primordial one
Growing alongside the vast tracts of highways
Burrowing through the passages of deep time.
Here, where these sylvan sisters rejoice in their Spring nudity
Shy but never ashamed.
No matter the dermis of flayed tree bark
Swinging in the shaded wind, disclosing its hollowed entrails,
No matter the newcomers with calorie tracking devices,
Oldcomers with their slow and lowly gate, no matter who does or does not take notice.
Here, are the braided vines sprawling atop the emerald campus
Of early shrubs bulbing their diminutive heads.
Here, is the scalped crown of timber bearing an effigy
Of a wounded lord of nature omitted of hands
Watching over this earthly haven
Of bitter soil and darkened wood
And other countless slain, vouchsafing their cambium
Pulverized to rubiginous dust.
Here, contiguous trunk plinths rounded as requiems
And lattices of wooden crucifixes,
And a bonfire made of thick limbs above the creek,
The timorous flow of water beneath.
Here, the towers of oaks and lindens bearing
Their fresh foliage as wreaths,
The interweaving of hands,
The mothers who push their wisdom into the plexus of their young
In the community of life, death and rebirth,
And giving and giving away.
And in all the world making for itself a name
Praises for the anonymity of this ecology,
The life that is satisfied to move in the night
And make a celebration of endarkenment.
And of all those in the world making for themselves names,
Have I ever dared to be unknown; to be one simply satisfied with belonging among the many of others?
Reprinted from Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations, Vol. 3: Partners.