Wednesday, March 12, 2014
My daughters called it the Kraken Tree
And said it had dived from deep space
To make a new home of rich earth
Being fed up with the bottom of the sea.
Its tentacles, both thick and frail as lace,
Were thrust aloft by its mantle's girth.
They claimed it snapped at voles and moles
With its beak and had plenty to see
Peering into burrowing animals' holes.
In summer the beast is covered in leaves
And becomes a home to nesting birds.
I ask if either daughter still believes
In the Kraken. "Dad! It's not just words!"
So, I find the Kraken Tree on my daily walk.
Sometimes the naked trees around it look like shrieks;
In frigid cold the rubbing of the branches creaks.
A rookery at dusk, here a hundred crows squawk.
The tree stands next to a frozen river that floods.
When it recedes it leaves shelf ice around the trunk.
It's March and the tentacles begin to grow buds.
Suckers sprout just above where the squid's eyes are sunk
Into grassy, leaf-scattered dirt, blinking and blind.
The swaying of its appendages stirs the breeze,
Playfully: the sea creature has some game in mind.
He'd have me believe he's just one of many trees.
I walk on, unconvinced, for I have touched his skin,
His living bark, and sensed the consciousness within.