Burning tree upon the hill
and burning tree within my heart,
what kinship stands between the two,
what cord I cannot tear apart?
The passionate gust that sets one free,
– a flock of leaves in sudden flight –
shatters the bright interior tree
into a shower of splintered light.
Fused moments of felicity,
when flame and I and heart unite,
come they from earth, or can they be
the swallows of eternity?
Within the Wave
Within the hollow wave there lies a world,
gleaming glass-perfect, rising to be hurled
into a thousand fragments on the sand,
driven by tide’s inexorable hand.
Now in the instant while disaster towers,
I glimpse the land more beautiful than ours,
another sky, more lapis-lazuli,
lit by unsetting suns, another sea
by no horizon bound, another shore,
glistening with shells I never saw before.
Smooth mirror of the present, poised between
the crest’s “becoming” and the foam’s “has-been” –
how luminous the landscape seen across
the crystal lens of an impending loss!
Already I have shed the leaves of youth,
stripped by the wind of time down to the truth
of winter branches. Linear and alone
I stand, a lens for lives beyond my own,
a frame through which another’s fire may glow,
a harp on which another’s passion, blow.
The pattern of my boughs, an open chart
spread on the sky, to others may impart
its leafless mysteries that I once prized,
before bare roots and branches equalized,
tendrils that tap the rain or twigs the sun
are all the same, shadow and substance one.
Now that my vulnerable leaves are cast aside,
there’s nothing left to shield, nothing to hide.
Blow through me, Life, pared down at last to bone,
so fragile and so fearless have I grown!
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
from The Unicorn and Other Poems