no one ever

no one ever

saw a spiral fountain of church-light in a wry corner, this secret library,
this ark, one of four at a crossroads whose bark I have touched, without
their God and Government and strange fruit, a green sanctuary of lightning
in reverse flying up like the Virgin,

a tree

an ‘American Swamp Oak’, where there was never swamp as far as I
know, just dry bush or before that, sea at the side of a volcano, here where
Wakefield Avenue is the epitome of Old country town Canberra safe as
home, nutritious and reassuring as cardboardy cat food on a sunny summer
shelf, where, nevertheless, we might assert, every tree links to every other,
in ways they cannot know like the good Alien of science fiction who
comes incognito, like Jesus but green and bumpy as an unripe lemon, and
through ingenuity or technomagic or plain fire subverts their explosive
apparatus of domination, their larynx-crushing empires, so its
counterposing boughs of paradise ache unburning across the hot sky —
this tree, this Covenant of knowledge could live 300 years or more, so I’ve
read in red drops of library ocean, history real as a kitchen unrecounted
beneath the bark, threatening no one or everyone high or low, I think that I
shall never see a poem as lovely as the world from one of your shaded
nests, more promising than the cliffs above El Dorado, so do not linger, do
not go, you are an aviary old and new and coeval with angels, enduring as
a tortoise, slow and steady as a toenail or a tectonic plate, fragile as a first
breath, this slovenly, oveny summer

and no one ever hanged from you


© Robert Verdon, 2020