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In the Dream of My Grandmother's Tree

Don Coles
From:   Landslides. McClelland & Stewart, 1986, 1993, p 17-18


In the dream of my grandmother's tree
Little chasms of wind caught my glance
Runnelling small eye-roads of leaves
High up there leading into the transparent
Heart of things, and I remembered how
Strange I used to feel looking up
Knowing I would be old sometime and have
No special plans. But then in the dream
A smell of lilac descended
From the tree onto everything and
Watchful, unhurried children began to
Emerge along the branches, most of them
I had known, especially one who died
Young falling from a railing
And was always patient and smiling when
I was never, although it is perhaps he who
More than anyone since keeps death
Open for me, and a tension or pressure
Began to be felt, or a tumult as if
Just now a very old idea
Was being broken into, and mothers and
Also some fathers came beside me with
Eyes looking upwards and calling up
Saying This is the way you
Really always were, isn't it,
Not the later way when you were
Big, we knew you would be like this
Because there is nothing in the world
We have cared for nearly as much
Since!
And now one called up
To a child sitting with his legs
Dangling, saying How could these leaves
Ever have allowed you to pass so
Unnoticeably into the angry, darkening
Distance?
But another said
Never mind, or said
Relax, this is why we are here,
This lasts longer than anything.




Don Coles's works copyright © to the author.


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