Monday, September 29, 2008

Tree Lore

My husband googled "tree lore" the other day and sent me this beautiful poem.

I had to share:

The earth gripped both her ankles as she prayed.
Roots forced from beneath her toenails, they burrowed
Among deep stones to the bedrock. She swayed.

Living statuary on a tree's foundations.
In that moment, her bones became grained wood,
Their marrow pith,

Her blood sap, her arms boughs, her fingers twigs,
Her skin rough bark. And already
The gnarling crust has coffined her swollen womb.

It swarms over her breasts. It wraps upwards
Reaching for her eyes as she bows
Eagerly into it, hurrying the burial

Of her face and her hair under thick-webbed bark.
Now all her feeling has gone into wood, wit her body.
Yet she weeps.

The warm drops ooze from her rind.
These tears are still treasured.
To this day they are know by her name - Myrrh.

- Ovid, Metamorphoses: Venus and Adonis, 10 B.C.Translated by Ted Hughes, Tales from Ovid, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997

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