The Treekeeper’s Tale

The Treekeeper’s Tale

I have set up house in the hollow trunk of a giant redwood.
My bed is a mat of pine needles. Cones drop their spirals

on my face as I sleep. I have the usual flying dreams.
But all I know when I wake is that this bark is my vessel

as I hurtle through space. Once, I was rocked in a cradle
carved from a coast redwood, its lullabies were my coracle.

I searched for that singing grove and became its guardian.
There are days when the wind plays each tree

like a new instrument in the forest-orchestra.
On wild nights mine is a flute. After years of solitude

I have started to hear its song. I lie staring at the stars
until the growth rings enclose me in hoops—

choirs of concentric colours, as if my tree is remembering
the music of the spheres. And I almost remember speaking

my first word, how it flew out of my mouth like a dove.
I have forgotten how another of my kind sounds.

Pascale Petit

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