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Geoff Oelsner » Dream Tree Poem

In Memory of John Locke

This is written as a tree
completely swathed in gauzy
energy rears its bare limbs
and climbs up through the filmy
blue solution of the sky.
In this kinetic photograph,
the nimbus round the branches
flames like ever-burning fuel.
A narrative is heard that’s
also written, consonantal with
the plunge of tree trunk,
thus: “In friends, the Higher
Life is fed by those who die,
and that life lasts as
it adds life to all those
friends who still live on.
Can the tree itself be
strengthened by the joy in
this exchange? I don’t know,
but…” Here the words fade
out, but in the living image
“those who die” are present
as dead branches on the tree.
The whitish incandescence
licks round them undiminished
on the page. Then suddenly
the dream’s completely gone,
leaving only native joy.