Friday, 7 March 2014

Julgans Nigra Circa 15th Century Hatfield Estate, Felled in storm 2014.

How small the compass of the matted roots,
protruding now above the ground, nest like.
How gnarled the limbs which horizontal lie,
reaching out along the grass beneath the sky
which, from the moment of emergence
from its squirrel-buried shell, fragile shoots
have gained their strength, increased, converting
sunlight into starch and growing lignified;
slowly turning seedling into walnut whip
and adding annually to shape and size,
so, after centuries, its stature
we regard as representative
of all that totaled, all that signified
ancient wisdom, knowledge - that which man holds good.
Some arms reach upwards still, seeking the sun;
three open orifices Bosch-like show,
somehow obscene, among the twisted branches,
crying out in prayer or pain, "I am undone".
We weep to see it thus reduced, a metaphor
for human age and death, but this facility
to always make connection to ourselves
is vanity and simplification.
Our trunks and limbs are here to serve our minds,
and though we must accept that death,
is fate, inevitability,
that flesh at last is frail
and all that is undignified,
though even brains must fail,
in life we are not fixed or rooted,
limited by things corporeal,
every human being can be free,
we are our spirits; man, not tree.

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