Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Sugar Maple

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Sugar Maple

Article excerpt

I like to stand under it, and look up,

through the small clearings between branches,

their rims of green leaves focusing the blue

of the sky as if I am looking into some past.

Planted in the forties after the war,

it grew with the children of the woman

who lived in this house. Truth is,

I hardly knew her, but I know from her son

she's living in a nursing home

and doesn't remember the names of her children

carved in the maple. I've read

that Alzheimer's patients can look at trees

so attentively they enter a Zen-like state

of meditation. I want to believe it's so,

as I want to believe in what I have felt

more than once-that this maple was saying something

I had to hear, to decipher, and write down.

Something recognizable, but withheld,

wordless, but on the tip of mtj tongue

(as my eighty-five-year-old mother often says these days),

something I was certain I knew-as the woman

who lived here knew this sugar maple

and the way it holds June's long light in its canopy,

or even now might know her children's names,

even if she can no longer call them in

or put them into the words of her knowing. …

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