When it Became Just a Tree
Malcolm Deeley

To call it the World Ash
would be a presumption
I wouldn't want to make
It was, after all
a branch from Yggdrasil
that Odin shaped
into the spear
that stood, almost
in governance of fate itself.

Still, it's a big tree, and old
It's easy to imagine
that it rose, young
before the first stone
of the first city was laid
Last survivor of days
under an open, forgotten sky.

It's hemmed in now
behind an iron fence
Kids, of course
used to climb in it,
even though the lowest branches
tower above the tallest man's reach
They'd just nail planks
to the side of the trunk,
and scramble up
Someone got hurt, I'm sure
so the black metal bars
came to ring it round.

The myth goes
that it has a twin
unscarred by nails
by the piss of passing dogs
A shade lives there
who was the prime mover
of the first world
He sits among the roots
in a forest, still unfound
still untouched
looking up into the canopy
watching the motion of the leaves.

Many of the branches
have steel cable, running at angles
to bolts sunk into the bole
Sagging arms, held harshly in place
no allowed any more
to fall
Someone might
get hurt again.

Malcolm Deeley is the author of eight books of poetry, paintings, and photography. He has been active in the arts community for over thirty years, and is the founder of Gromagon Press, which supports outstanding and innovative poets and artists online and in print. As a social activist, his work has been featured in benefits to support programs against domestic and other violence. His favorite fruit is a sweet, stinging orange.

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