Alder

Are you weary, alder tree

in this, the age of rain?

 

From your branches

droop clots of lichen

 

like fairy lungs.  All week

squalls, tattered mists:

 

alder, who unfolded

before the receding glaciers

 

first one leaf then another,

won’t you teach me

 

a way to live

on this damp ambiguous earth?

 

The rain showers

release from you a broken tune

 

but when the sun blinks, as it must,

how you’ll sparkle –

 

like a fountain in a wood

of untold fountains.

 

Kathleen Jamie

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