One birthday morning
I woke before the house
and crept to the stairs
where our big window was a gleam
of almost-Christmas light,
uncertain white, frosting on pale hills,
not yet breaking day from the night.
Nothing moved on the land.
Ash, willow, birch, great oak
as if there never had been life,
just this waiting in between.
I felt some fear, or aching,
like never before –
somehow nothing would be the same,
nothing stuck to plan,
a clearness was lost that could never
Closing my eyes, I heard
the dream-filled breath of the others
tiding under doors, through keyholes,
returning, yes! – I thought,
to day’s wake,
to life at hand.
But above all those sleeps
a tree I could not name,
from which descended shimmering,
that I could not understand.