A lime tree felled, its three-foot stump
For days continued drawing sap
From blind-eyed roots which like a pump
Spread liquor on the stump’s blond lap.
Fermenting in the sun’s May heatIt bulked with sawdust like a gruel,
For sipping ants and spiders, meat,
Though flashing like a prism’d jewel.
Such doggedness and will to live!May I, now dropping hair and teeth,
When lopped by time no less contrive
To dazzle with my final breath!
ii. A Tree Stump (Afterthought)
Now weeks have passed that stump has setInto a shelf of leather brown
Hardened by summer’s grin or frown
And the day’s whim, now parched, now wet.
The grain is glossy, crosscut byA pattern from the chainsaw’s blades;
All’s polished into hard-gleam shades
As by the weather’s husbandry.
Tanned and toughened like a dried corse,Aglint in noonday’s heavy sun,
Senseless it sleeps as the weeks run
Dumb to memory or remorse.
iii. A Tree Stump (Again)
Two months later, passing that wayIn the chill morn of a damp day,
Bemused I saw the stump had sprung
A whorl of leaves, all freshly slung:
Dew-dropped and dimpled as a hand,Through the grey-walled bark, rough like sand,
Sea-water green they squeezed to life,
Toothsome as vegetables for the knife.
Truly, from the first Big Bang leapA force in nature does not sleep;
So these frail leaves in the bark’s grist
Struggle to life and will not desist.
iv. A Tree Stump (Final)
But in one month the tale was done,The stump was grubbed; a shallow hole
Of dowdy chippings, shrunk in sun,
Is all that’s left, where cats now roll.
===============© May-September 2014