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the Trees


The black leafless trees stand motionless
under the cloudy, dismal sky.
a cold breeze occasionally blows across
the damp bitter countryside.
the world remains as silent as a mausoleum
and appears to be equally full of life. 

The world appears to be dead: no movement, no
animals, black plantlife … but life is as abundant
as ever.

The trees mock death, fully inside their rough,
lifeless outer shell,
but passive to the entire world – taking in nothing
the world has to give, and likewise offering
nothing of itself.

The trees can stay on the brink of sleep, silent
but always preparing to burst forth with life
once again when the spring of the year comes.

How unfortunate it is that we cannot be as
the trees are: able to shut out the world, able
to quietly contemplate our existence inside our
hard outer shell, able to take nothing and
give nothing equally, and – most of all –
able to burst forth in the spring of our rebirth …

If we do actually die, we may never return,
and to feign death would be impossible
for most,
but we must have the chance to stop
our existence and be allowed a rebirth –
if only once …

When the world turns lifeless to us,
must we endure and not be able
to become as the trees – lifeless until
our world is reborn.

Sad, but true – we must endure. As far as
we have "evolved" above the trees, we still
cannot share their good fortune.

And this must mean that for me,
this damp, bitter countryside
is representative of the world, and
this cloudy, silent, dismal day
is representative of the world I
shall always be forced to endure.

I ask you, which is the higher evolved,
man or the trees?


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the Trees, by Paul Cales, © 1988