Poem: Soil and Soul


Soil and Soul

Outside, a tree grows.
Thick with age, roots spread wide and deep,
it has survived storms and seasons.
It has survived time itself.

The leaves are beginning to color.
The autumn it seems, will be early this year.
Already the nights turn cold
and you close your windows against the night.

Autumn, the annual death scene,
something out of King Lear,
florid and drawn out,
full of grand gestures and color,

And then, death.
For a while at least,
grey limbs and ragged bark,
and scars from a century of storms.

It is like looking in a mirror,
at your own death, so close, so near
even your roots were threatened.

You survived, not in place
but by moving, by taking your torn roots
and planting them somewhere new,
here in this place far from all you knew.

A tree grows outside as you ponder roots,
your own,
less a matter of soil, than soul.

About this poem

When I moved from Virginia to Vermont, I was 54 years old. I had never lived anywhere but Virginia. I had no idea how I might settle into a new place. The answer? Just fine.

WHy? Because my roots were steeped in something more than geography and history. But I had to move to discover that truth.


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