Queen of the Season

—for Anne


We struggle through soggy snow,

our snowshoes a doubting Thomas

unable to waterwalk, each sunken step

the link in a lifeline cast back to the road.


Granite ridges rise on either side of us,

indifferent in their sleep of millennia.

The incessant soundtrack in my head

kneels, pressed flat, white as this silence.


Lungs ache to expel the air of the rooms

we inhabit. Fir, spruce and larch climb

the sheer slopes effortlessly. Pines splay

nursling hands, children eager to return


to the field after the red blight of illness.

Treetops bristle against heavy cloud.

Whatever mind set this galaxy in motion

understood: waking consciousness


in so many limbs would crowd this world

beyond endurance. Instead, Earth strikes

the green flint of their lives with patient fire,

filling the skies with breath and being.


We two have walked this trail before,

left these same footprints—orderly runes

drawing us toward inescapable

whiteness, an omen of completion.


Knowing they can’t hear but trusting

the spark they bear is alive, we talk to trees,

lay our hands on the pitch they exude,

try to divine which one will sacrifice itself


to be our ever-living sprig, release

evergreen incense to the hungry gods

and goddesses whose absence lingers on

in our own insatiable hunger for life.


Nagging, ancient images of a Garden

untouched by frost persist and blossom

in each snowflake, unique as souls appearing

and reappearing against winter night.


And so we pray before we saw into living wood,

compelled by visions of cut-paper stars,

milky way garlands and glass bells chiming

inaudibly—memories of now


and a hundred thousand yesterdays,

when this one tree is Queen of the Season

and we huddle with every winged and four-footed child

to follow its perfumed reach into heaven.


©2013 Sean Arthur Joyce


About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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