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Song of the Trees

by Mary Colborne-Veel, 1918


We are the Trees.
  Our dark and leafy glade
Bands the bright earth with softer mysteries.
Beneath us changed and tamed the seasons run:
In burning zones, we build against the sun
  Long centuries of shade.


We are the Trees,
  Who grow for man’s desire,
Heat in our faithful hearts, and fruits that please.
Dwelling beneath our tents, he lightly gains
The few sufficiencies his life attains—
  Shelter, and food, and fire.


We are the Trees
  That by great waters stand,
By rills that murmur to our murmuring bees.
And where, in tracts all desolate and waste,
The palm-foot stays, man follows on, to taste
  Springs in the desert sand.


We are the Trees
  Who travel where he goes
Over the vast, inhuman, wandering seas.
His tutors we, in that adventure brave—
He launched with us upon the untried wave,
  And now its mastery knows.


We are the Trees
  Who bear him company
In life and death. His happy sylvan ease
He wins through us; through us, his cities spread
That like a forest guard his unfenced head
  ’Gainst storm and bitter sky.


We are the Trees.
  On us the dying rest
Their strange, sad eyes, in farewell messages.
And we, his comrades still, since earth began,
Wave mournful boughs above the grave of man,
  And coffin his cold breast.


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