Days of Green and Mourning

The willow in our garden

washes her green hair in sunlight and rain

and every winter molts, in shower of twigs

and leaves, stands proud and bare in the cold,

arms raised waiting for Spring’s new fashion

to slip over her shoulders

 

This year her left arm remains naked

a gnarled limb exposed, brown skin suddenly old

and wrinkled against the rest of her greenness.

The man at the nursery said they stopped selling willows

because of this disease – there’s nothing to do he shrugged

a year or two, three at the most

 

This is Northern Israel, we’re used to mourning.

Last week was Holocaust day and now Remembrance Day

for soldiers and civilians fallen in our wars is here,

the cemeteries are filled with visitors, eucalyptus trees

outside the overflowing car parks shed pungent leafy tears

 

We drive home, stop off at the plant nursery

buy a fuchsia and some new season impatiens

to brighten up the garden – and a few packets of seeds,

perhaps this year some vegetables will grow;

we try not to look too hard at the willow

with her crooked smile.  She, we and the soldiers

 

Share the warmth, savor the wisdom of green days

slipped between our browning years

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© Johnmichael Simon

2008

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