The Curling Tree

It is like a fragment of music
Glissando slipping through the room
There is a strange almost consolation
That impels the assumption
Of an onset of gloom.
But I reject this as
Not the way it needs to be.
I know there is no logic
No reason for it — justification even.
But it is the way I sense
Things can be. As if it were
An afternoon sun brushed
With the brightness of hope.
I feel sure that one day
The sun will shine for you
I know there are days when you feel
That there is no remission
No relenting from the desolation.
That there seems to be nothing
More than a desiccated wind blown tree
Bereft of any tiny fragment of comfort —
Stretching out on an unending desert
As far as the eye can see
Lost beyond some far horizon
In an endless frozen land.
Yet perhaps it isn’t so.
At least it doesn’t have to be.
We’re told that life is
A journey full of change and variety
You never know when you’ll run
Into a different piece of reality.
The curve of a beautiful woman
Or in your case a bronzed young man
Supple in his symmetry — But this
Is not what I’m referring to.
It begins with a glance
Maybe the promise of a smile.
Someone willing to risk opening
A window to their inner mind.
Either way hopefully that there is
A memory a fragment bright
Caught in a rainbow light
To warm our every tomorrow.
There is a different perception —
Which can be found in another tree
And one day I hope that you will
Explore it with me
It is no young sapling you understand.
It has been there for a generation at least
Maybe more.
When young, it’s growth was strained
Pruned, tethered and trained
Pointed in a direction to which it should go.
There was belief that time would soon
Whip it around the iron work to endure
In a pattern that would lift in the warmth
Of faith to nurture and take it past tomorrow.
I look now and see it in the depth of winter.
No foliage softens the pattern of its turning.
The sap deeply stored
In the base of the mother tree.
I trace the pattern, unsure of what I see
I sense inside it there, a relaxed tension
Within the iron fretwork encumbered
Sinews gathering strength stretch out
Encircle and embrace the beginnings
Of an early Spring — a growth of faith
That warms your heart and lets us share
The memory of a smile.
So if for some reason
We become separated
Let this one image be a bridge between us
The boughs of the Curling Tree
Reaching out dissolving the distance
Removing the partitions
Separating you and me.
Unrestricted by the seasons
The margins and the knotted branches
The meandering, gnarled bark —
The mother nested in the warmth
Of new seasons, new hopes
New dimensions of our being
And a caring warmth for a shared
Vision and the love of our futurity.
By John Hall


To Danielle