canopy of beech trees, image by Gennaro Leonardi, on Pixabay
Signs and Wonders
The rotting beech, rooted just a few yards from my house,
rose like a six-story steeple in the cathedral of trees
at the edge of our woods.
She’d stood a hundred years or more through sun and snow
drought and flood, housed crows and doves, was a ladder
to the sky for countless kids.
But now she was like a much-loved dog you take to
the vet for a merciful end. I watched and wept as
men with ladders, ropes, and saws took her down.
I’ve read that beech trees form families root to root,
warn each other of danger, share food with sick brethren,
make sacrifices to encourage new life.
That spring, the mother stump birthed a half dozen shoots.
Nourished, I like to think, by arboreal aunts and uncles,
they stretch for the blessing of rain and the succor of sun.
It seems to me they are in constant conversation
with each other and with God. When the wind rises,
I think I hear their prayers.
Brian Kates, a longtime journalist, is an award-winning author and holds a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.
His poetry has appeared in Spirit Fire Review,
Amethyst, Paterson Literary Review, Third Wednesday, Common Ground Review, Ekphrastic Review, Banyan Review, and other journals. He lives with his wife in
a house in the woods in the lower Hudson Valley.