The nut tree, wide above my head,
stretching its cool black limbs to take
the sun, sends darkness down my chest.
Its dappled, highcrowned roadways make
safe homes for birds; quick squirrels run
the veins of its treasure-giving hand;
but the ground below is dead.
Strange providence! Shall I call the tree
tyrannical, since where it stands
nothing survives but itself and its high-
borne guests? Condemn it because it sends
down stifling darkness, sucks the life
from grass, and whitens the sapling leaf
for trifling, fluttering friends?
The law of the world is a winter law,
and casual. I too can be grim:
snatch my daylight by violent will
and be glorified for the deed, like him;
drain my soil of Considerations,
grip my desires like underground stones,
let old things sicken and fail.
She touches my hair and smiles, kind,
trusting the rhetoric of love: Give
and get. But the thought flits through my mind,
There have got to be stabler things than love.
The blurred tree towering overhead
consumes the sun; the ground is dead;
I gasp for rain and wind.