The Trees by Monika Kostera

(Zaton, 2013)

What shall I do?
The smooth walnut tree,
cut down in her prime.
She that cradled me,
told me stories
unmatched since.

When the leaves fall
where shall I go?
When hurt,
when I’ve done wrong,
when no tears can wash
my eyes clear?

The oak tree upon the hill
that taught me that courage
hangs his hat in the mind,
in whose branches
I reached beyond structures,
to think the unthought.


He, the same who
taught me to grow,
was struck by lightning.
His roots died slowly and
the light is stark,
undappled by his leaves.

none tread before me now,
no canopy above.

So take this, my song,
black swallow.
Weave it with
the dead twigs
of fallen trees
and make a nest
in the bows of the living.



Monika Kostera, a professor at the University of Krakow from her debut collection Oneiropeia. I include here a trio that have abuse & manipulation deep in their roots but perhaps still an optimistic aftertaste.

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