The Trees of My Childhood

And so you think differently in the mornings. The bird takes your wings, flies to the birch tree. “Don’t write prose,” says the bed of moss. Jesus, you don’t even know what prose is. On your hands and knees you know the lady’s slipper, an orchid, purple as a royal hat. 

Once, years ago, in a job interview (with people I didn’t like) when asked, “what’s the next thing you’re working on?” I said: “A biography of the trees in Karstula, my grandfather’s village.” That did the trick, the lights went out in their eyes. Boy do I know my trees. Know what occurs deep below their roots. 

When you’re asked about ambition—in literary terms—well, it’s always a trick question. 

D.H. Lawrence: 

“All people dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the
morning to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, For they dream their dreams with open eyes, And make them come true.” 

Now lately I’ve made a few things come true. 

I translated a micro lyric from Finnish. A dirge. A lovesick flash blues:

sad evening
when the city becomes silent
we will no longer meet

had we some others

we would be happier

Had we some others—nights are precarious. Tonight love. Tonight no love. And see how the city is indifferent.

The trees wish to help but they’re overpowered by sermonizing architectures. 

Didn’t you know it! Even as a child you knew! Stay away from the buildings! 

With trees, among them, never forgetting them, life becomes slow and strong like Mahler’s Fifth. He, by the way, loved the morning.  

The bird takes your wings, flies to the birch. In turn she gives you a tinge of color. 

In the middle of everything, broken glass of their feathers, and the solid streets of the committed trees.

Early, I saw I didn’t know much. A boyhood with trees is just that way. 

All the trees past and present, know some secrets about my strained heart.