artist painter

old tree in winter

p20 old tree in winter chinese inkwas on japanese paper 24 x 32 cm


He’s watching me again from his warm chair
By the window, the old man, so why not make
Believe I know what he’s thinking, for, other as we are, each knows
That, in time, we both break.

He dreams, what with my leaves, I am renewed
Each spring, while nothing much happens to him
Further: he has no god of self-renewal, who thinks I do,
Admitting my future’s grim,

Stuck in the earth, a life, a death, too, expressed
By branches, each pointing different ways, but reaching
Always up, fleeing the soil: one day, each motionless,
Black, untouching, breaching

The sun’s glare; another, stiff, buffeted
From side to side (my sole defensive act?),
Boughs cracked; one day, to myself a bitter joke all caked with snow;
The next, icicle-racked

To look the fool – beard dripping with soup,
I’d slobber, «Here comes the sun!» He thinks to what
Avail do I thrust forth to what, like him stuck in his chair,
Staring, nodding, not

Knowing how long the sham will last, like me
Waiting, waiting to bear each leaf, each thought.
I shouldn’t hide in foliage, although I cannot help it,
More honest, he hides naught.

From Soliloquies (2004)