To say there should be no hemlocks here,
Is to unmake Universe.
No other tree can endure here,
Eking sixty feet of height
From raw gray granite
Nor make soil from its own
Lichen does her part, yes:
Quartzite pokes from gneiss,
Waits for moss and rainfall.
Daddy Longlegs circumambulates
his own personal Yggdrasil,
Expects rainbows from spider-armed
Heimdall, lightning from 8-armed Thor.
Too much wind here, too little moisture
For mosquito: ants claim sweatbeads
From my elbow and back.
A seraph — or hornet, it’s hard to tell —all eyes and legs,
Buzzes a sutra in my ear.
Wasp, too, is a sacred tongue:
Older than Pali or Sanskrit,
Older than human.
New mystic languages buzz too:
Curdles sky with its own droning versicle: Boston to Pittsburgh,
And the highway drone
Sings out its own peculiar mantra.
Oak intends incursion here:
One tiny acorn sits among tangle of roots,
Dark against fallen red pinecones.
Someday its turn may come.
Wind bears scents of cedar swamp and autumn; sap leaks from a broken bough: paths to the underworld could begin here.
Last night I watched women singing the destiny of ocean to a shallow stream that as yet knew no river — “No snow here on the heights last winter, and so the beach is gone where we waded chest-deep in years past.” Today I struggled with missing tax forms and my own tendency to stoutness — catastrophes of accumulation.
Here on the mountain…
Council of hemlocks keep their counsel
Super mensam et super rosam:
They say nothing aloud,
Make their decisions thoroughly plain;
this tree will fall • that tree will thrive •
nuthatch will dwell here • owl will take her due
All in due time will return to dust •
And Nourish the next • and nourish the next •
And nourish he next • and nourish
Accept your place in the cycle.
Grow, accumulate, reserve, let go,
Decline, fall, release, re-seed,
Feed what comes next.