When you pruned the burning bush,
dousing cut boughs in the snow,
you claim it suffered in French,
slurring or eliding its vowels.
You heard it say la douleur
de tout cela as plainly
as you heard the wind suffocate
the snow-scene in taint of blue.
I believe you, but dragging
the rubble to the frozen brush pile
I heard nothing but the creak
of pines getting brittle with cold.
As my boots punched through crust
I felt the distinction between
self and environment thicken
like an old photo going blind.
Today an even deeper cold
plumbs our distemper to prove
how clueless is the human retort
to weather at its most withering.
Brewing coffee to thaw my speech,
I empathize with the cut bush
tossing its stunted feelers
into clarity edged with disdain.
Have we ever felt the same way
twice about the frozen marsh,
its yellow tufts almost muffled
in layers of rumpled ice?
Have we ever agreed that tracks
of deer browsing our shrubs regress
like cuneiform into the gloom
of the cringing winter forest?
We don’t always see or live in
the same or similar worlds but
I believe you heard what you heard:
laisse-moi mourir en paix;
and believe the bush spoke out
of its own small imperative,
the wind blowing down from Canada
with a stark religion intact.
Image Credits: Richard Simon