1.

                           Vago già di cercar dentro e dintorno

                        la divina foresta spessa e viva,

                        ch’a li occhi temperava il novo giorno,

 

                                Eager now to explore in and around

                             the divine forest, so thick and bright

                             softening the new morning light in my eyes,

                                                Dante, Purgatorio, 28.1-3



I woke and felt I’d lost my way, I walked out

into ruckus and rubble, I was too far along

Had I lost the trees?

 

I couldn’t remember where or how I’d come in

And the wind? Did it sound like a snake

or like bees, living from flower to flower

 

     an imprint of water, hum of consciousness

     plant powers, where sun plunges into things

     constantly taking their peculiar shape

 

Wind ties and unties transhuman knots

and something touches me, a hand, a forest

feather-light breath of a bird

 

Is there still a way to be proper and naked?

Is that just for air? The redolent ground?

Even air has its clouds, dusts, its shades

 

     Is this what I want?

 

I woke in light that grew finally green with

a day’s early beck as if a river slipped

forever through my hands

 

Then I felt the trees, the lost and the found

I didn’t know what they were trying to say

but something within me could overhear

 

     — Sleep like a tree, wake

     as if sleeping, wake alongside a tree, save

     and lose and recover each breath





2.

                          Tu mi fai rimembrar dove e qual era

                        Proserpina nel tempo che perdette

                        la madre lei, ed ella primavera.

 

                                You make me remember what Persephone was like

                            and where she was in that moment her mother lost

                             her and when she herself lost her spring.

                                                  Dante, Purgatorio, 28.49-51



Can I still dream these relentless beauties

when, here it comes! another super-charged storm or

a scorch mark in air smudging flowers and skin

 

I hear a truth each day, a neighbourhood

chainsaw across divided air, through a veil of

suburban platitudes, customs of recycling

 

My walk wilts like clouds hung from gargoyles

and telecoms. Do I acknowledge the semiconductors

of this life, welcome the gamut?

 

The saw begins again and something hurts truly

among little squashed things, trysting wings

things that chase each, dust-web, float-leaf

 

A darkness is transplanted out of residential loam

as past and future jolt me through the present

cutting into the magic of where this tree was

 

Still, I walk out as parrots chatter, they hang

in branches and labyrinths, blue heads

green wings, orange and yellow breasts

 

In the soft thick light, this is what still is

in the turning pulse of air over pungent earth

the promise of daily sweat, of what remains

 

Now I don’t know what I’m becoming, I’m neither

a bird nor a cloud nor a tree, not can I be, yet

I’m looser now in today’s slow-finishing light

 

Truth isn’t difficult to hear, if you can, hear it as

falling water sounding the skin, if it’s not too late

Welcome the vespertine rain!





Jill Jones reads 'The Lost Trees (What Remains)