Sunday, April 20, 2008

the eldest

“Scientists have found a cluster of spruces in the mountains in western Sweden which, at an age of 8,000 years, may be the world's oldest living trees.” –news article, April 2008.

They have squatted down on the leeward side,
One hundred of our lifetimes and more, enduring.
Patiently pushing upward, a new trunk replacing the old
As each grows past its limit.

It takes a certain sort of vegetative patience,
Thick sap-blood feeding the sluggish roots as they grip
The rock of the mountain edge, a vice-hold as
Knotty hands knit the soil, burrow and bore down.

The blue glacier receded, and in its frost-wake
They slowly rose, glabrous shoots and simple saplings,
Then arching up to meet the clean cold sky,
A brown smudge with green needle leaves.

Born three thousand years before the first
Pictograms appear, thriving on only
Carbon Dioxide, water, and the sun.
Silent sentinels with wrinkled skins.

If only we could be more like them,
Robust, resistant, defiant in the face of
Fickle weather and the wearing-down
Of life; we could render time powerless.

No comments: