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Fruit Trees in the Mist

Bare mountain, foothills,

stone terraces stretch away

moonlight flickers, slides wan

through cloud banks

dark with bulging rain


On the ground, rows of gray trees

stand naked in the mist

rows without end, east to west

and north, across and up

thin branches, witches fingernails,

point skywards, curl incantations

or prayers, the swirling fog drifts

undecided which from that


Within a few short months

these fingers will conjure buds and leaves

white and pink fairy blossoms

warmed by the sun, fruit will appear;

apples, Starking and Delicious,

blushing nectarines, plums, persimmons

a canvas of shaking green, red and gold

to paint these hills of Galilee

in impressionist splendour


But tonight the witches rule these slopes

raising the wind, curling their fingernails

the anxious moon and darkening sky

cry out to me, run home, run home

to warmth and hearth, run home before

the storm descends, run home


Still I linger yet a moment, gasping,

drinking the scene, my every pore open

to the rain as now it comes, a torrent

from the sky, an angry ocean whipping all

lashing, lashing.  One minute longer I stand,

my clothes wet slapping rags, capsizing boats.


Part of me, a ghost, a skeleton, who knows,

escapes the confining garments and stands

naked as the trees, arms raised, fingers

stretching upwards, exulting in the storm.

In answer, a flash of lightning illuminates

the terraces and thunder roars

across the stretching rows


I turn and run, a rain phantom, racing home

to hearth, safety and dry again, to bed

to dream that once again I am a tree

dancing with those witches in the rain

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© Johnmichael Simon



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