A Sestina For The Trees

Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe

  I heard them, only yesterday. Trees spinning yarns,  

  Yabbering stories older than the oldest 

  Tales; uttering exquisite arborial poetry.  

  Singing soft, soothing lullabies in whispered, wind-long breaths,   

  Sighing at the soft snow settling on muttering branches. 

  Then gently resting, spent, humming contentedly. 

  Tickled by a passing breeze they, contentedly, 

   Laughed shivers of green and gold; giggling yarns   

   Tumbling blush scarlet ribbons from flirtatious branches. 

   At first light, each tree stands tall and chants its name, its oldest 

   History; its ancestral roots woven in poetry; 

    A radicle chorus of rustling, murmuring breaths. 

   They are gossips and grumblers; seasoned branches 

    Cataloguing, with gnarled-weary creaking breaths, 

    Every ache, pain, twisted sinew and knot, the oldest, 

    In wrinkled wrapped, year-thickened coats, contentedly 

    Smiling with earthbound wisdom, sagely nodding at yarns 

    Of fierce fought battles with gusts and gales. Poetry 

    That rustles beneath the dawn chorus of birds. Yarns 

    That, through whispering leaves, unfurls the oldest 

    Adventures. In sotto voce offerings, my breaths 

    Find their pace again. The pause on the threshold. Poetry 

    That crackles from old brown leaves and the snap of dry branches 

    Gives strength for the journey. Trees speak contentedly; 

  Starlight glistening language of wise poetry. 

   Speech that shudders healing through sapien branches, 

   Takes the fractious out breaths and transforms them into yarns. 

   Voices waiting for the waking balm kiss of the in breaths. 

   Placeholders, brushing conciliate peace, contentedly 

   Re-storying the adrift and broken with oldest 

  Narratives. Truths of Kathak dance through the branches. 

   Ancient rhapsodes stitching songs from needled breaths 

   Stretched like pliant rods. Sapling supple threads sewn. Oldest, 

   Sacred performers pulling wood-silk strands, contentedly 

   winding woodland mysteries that code the world with light. Yarns 

   Of magi, griots and shamans; tree poetry; 

  A seer’s zephyr of transformational breaths. Yarns 

  Contentedly old as time. Poetry 

  Rooted in the oldest bard’s consecrated branches. 

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