Once Again


“Look at that tree,” David said.  We’d been following the snowmobile trail that runs past our house for several miles, the fresh snow well packed for our cross-country skis.  “It looks like a tree in England.”

The oak tree does look like many of the trees we saw as we walked across England last summer.  Sitting at the edge of a yard bordering an open field, the tree stands by itself, which is common in English pastures — a single tree with an unimpeded crown, standing grand and full, left to grow on its own for decades and decades.

I know this oak tree, and in fact have been so stuck by it I wrote a poem about it many years ago.  The poem asks a question I’ve yet to answer.

Once Again

If there’s an oak I recall
from year to year for the fineness
of its winter crown against dusk sky
as I climb from woods to cross
the Bailey’s fields, its branches a black
articulation against last light,
do the scars of the intervening year,
matter, all those months without considering
this simple view, now new
and long remembered all at once?

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