By Sage Cohen of Portland, Oregon. She "believes that poetry and trees can change the world" and owns her own communications firm, Sage Communications.
We collect in the morning glare
with our coffee and dogs.
Mo and Barb. Sam and Pete.
Robin and Tim.
As the night pattern
holds the sky together,
we are both symbol and light.
We work with the young volunteers,
the old volunteers,
to nourish our cement streets.
Like dream, the trees began
somewhere else and arrived in trucks.
To release their young hungers,
we whack each bucket heavily.
The hole needs to be exactly deep to receive.
Together we lower the first tender pre-trunk
stem into the earth, secure its nimbus
of new leaves against insults, cars,
the imminent inconsiderations of humanity.
We tamp down earth around
the fragile root bulb. Circle it with nutrients
to help the soil relearn its purpose
as it takes its first breaths from where
the squares of cement were cut away.
Pete reopens an old wound, bleeds
into the water that will first feed the tree.
Our messy lives overflow and mingle.
>From absolute to continuity.
When each trees is upright
and firm in its new intention,
excesses swept away,
neighbors collect like moths.
We breathe these green
frequencies of light.
That we have eaten bagels together,
hammered nails, hauled heavy buckets, dug
up dirt to make a space for a life to enter
will outlive the spit and detritus
that drift through our disinterested streets.
Each light ignites the constellation.
My Pyramidal Hornbeam is dense
with unspent perfumes.
She is at the beginning
of her street story, a continuation
of the seed's impulse toward history.
I name her Hilda, for Grandma
who has lost her language
but not her laughter.
The name is the place
where love and suffering
two layers against the cold.
The lining and the leather.
Like the street, the moment
opens to possibility.
What the world calls unjust,
we might name beauty.
Or we might sit quietly
unshaped by words
observing what we've planted
and how it grows.
May 18, 2005
Posted in guest column.
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