The tree is dark, the tree is tall,
to gaze at it isn’t fun.
Among the fruits of this fall
your death is the most grievous one.

The land is bare. Firm for steps,
it yields to a shovel’s clink.
Among next April’s stems
your cross will be the unshaken thing.

                * * *

Seedless, it will possess its dew,
humiliating grass.
Poetry without you
equals only us.

The words are retreating to the stage
of lexicons, of the muse.
The sky looks like an empty page
which you did not use.

                * * *

The tree is dark, the tree is tall,
pleasing its Maker’s scheme.
The thing I wish to talk
of least of all is Him.

Crossing horizons objects shrink;
it’s hard to realize
there is someone for whom the thing
gains its previous size.

This Issue

December 12, 1974