Night Willow

(after Beth Adams)

The only ones I knew, those that fringed the man-made lake in my hometown, interspersed with red bottlebrush trees.

I used to have a sepia print made by an artist friend who just passed away— The woodcut showed rowboats on choppy water, the City Hall in the distance; and, distinct at the edges of the frame, the long-fingered leaves of willows.

In their shade, early mornings, an elderly Chinese man came to lead T’ai Chi exercises: single whip, warding off, cloud hands, wild horse spreading mane. Shoes made no sound on the grass.

This is my dream painting: shot through with yellow gleam of lamplights, shadows hunched or hugging their knees like granary gods.

Moss lining the undersides of jagged stones— so even here, it might be possible to say there is still kindness to be found.

Is this what you mean? I’ve decided to stop knotting up my questions and lobbing them like weapons into the trees.

The sky at night can be the color of ash, can be the color of burnished metal.

If the nest is a purse, then it is so high up in the branches I could not possibly plunder it or probe its depths.

Dear mystery: daily, night after night, I think you’re testing me; I won’t fight with you anymore.

Branches sough, and shapes of leaves shift in the wind. One by one my daughters will fly away.

Lit, candles burn down into bowls of liquid wax, even as their smoky fragrance lingers.

Tell me in your own time what you want to say.


In response to Cassandra Pages: Night Willow.

One Reply to “Night Willow”


    I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it
    Since what is kept must be adulterated?—T.S. Eliot, Gerontion

    What could I tell you after all that was said?
    Nothing could be taken back, nothing offered.
    The passion I thought I had is an old saw,
    it would not, could not cut through the years
    that have turned into whorled cores in a tree
    that will be cut down in the harvest of logs
    and will not grow again. Dry timbre in a forest fire.

    —Albert B. Casuga

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.