Bent down, as if by all the weight of the sky,
Its limbs are limp now, and ragged;
Proud monarch once, still covered by
Its many branches, crooked and jagged,
Beneath emerald gems, glittering in the sun.
Now, too poor for love, it clings
To life most bitter, most dear, most low;
A solitary branch its crutch it brings,
Wondering where the birds will go
Now that summer is done.
Faded and withered now, it stoops –
One gnarly hand outstretched to break its fall –
As finger and finger, one by one, loops
Nets, and cobwebs, spirit traps, all
So that no creature can dare outrun.
Loneliness, more frightful than old age,
Now dwells within that tree –
Little by little, it forms a cage
Trapping all the creatures that can be;
Company, perhaps, for the oldest one.
Its heart is there; you cannot see
Its tears fresh, though they linger
On all the hurts hanging free
On cut and twisted hand, or finger,
Now that the axemen come.
Hours long they stay there, turning
Their many blades this way and that;
One by one, its many fingers burning,
Now lies it there, still and flat,
Lifeless under the bloody sun.