The Catalpa Tree

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The Catalpa tree stands for a century or more In lands that are arid and barren It has leaves soft as a thief’s hand Where black hooded jays hide by day And invisible crickets chant all night using      A child’s ...

The Catalpa tree stands for a century or more

In lands that are arid and barren

It has leaves soft as a thief’s hand

Where black hooded jays hide by day

And invisible crickets chant all night using     

A child’s beating heart as their metronome  

 

This mixture of wood and air is where

A hostage moons negotiates peace between

Blue lights the somnambulist sees

And clocks that yawn and wait

For morning birds to sing so night

Can crawl home just before dawn  

 

Summer always surrenders to winter

Leaving thin gray branches that   

Allows cold winds to wash in  

From an ocean filled with fish and ash

The remains of those set ablaze in boats

No captain will ever drop anchor from

 

Ghosts invade your dreams with bad news

And your lungs team with tiny red ants in

A sandy loam they think is black sugar

Angels draw straws and pick a leader

On a bed where a white dress lies that will

Soon smell of mothballs and red cedar

 

Old friends pity you as they hurry by

Like a bomb just dropped in their city--

Children flee as if their clothes are on fire

Into the woods like tired shooting stars

Afraid of a stranger who walks just behind you

This shadow the old ones call “The Merchant”

 

O dear angel left hanging on the wall

Come and kiss this crying child goodnight

Silence the dead and soon to be dying and    

Show her where the wild catalpa tree grows tall

So she may sleep a century or more of giving    

All that flowers while we look away

 

Rex D Stock

August 2015

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