Ars Poetica

Like a lover,
I am not merely meant to
touch your beautiful 't'
admire the shape of your 'r'
and delight in your perfect 'ee' -
I need to see
you, tree,
as a whole.
And still - is that enough?
I have to sense your soul!

Teach me
to flow with the sap in your veins,
to recede from your leaves and transform
with the chlorophyll when winter
mails his impending visit, to welcome
the squirrel with your warm branchshake.
Give me the view from within the bark,
so that I will learn
not to dive with the swallow, but
to dive within the swallow, to let
the swallow dive in me and through me
right into the reader's heart.

I want my poems to remove
the wrinkles of custom from your bark
and breathe on it a re-creation
that hits the eye as fresh
as the first wave of light.
Let them display the universe
in a patch of lichen,
in a maple leaf
the glory of God.

What if my poems are trees?
Not in the pedigree of the obvious,
but in the wedding of opposites,
discordia concors, coincidentia oppositorum.
Like a tree,
they grow out of my mind's soil,
willing their own shapes within me
all by themselves, led by the plan
inherent in all creation.
Pregnant with seeds I received
from the world, from the sky,
like mother earth,
I birth them,
a co-creator at best,
perhaps licking their saplings into shape
as Virgil's she-bear her cubs after birth.

I want my poems to bear fruit,
to offer shade and provide a shelter,
to root in the earth and grow to the heavens.
I want my alley-tree poems to form
a crash barrier for someone's road,
a columned temple to the Poet of Poets
a cathedral to praise my Creator.

2000