Panegyric: the work of trees – A Poem by Gayle J. Greenlea

Panegyric: the work of trees

Trees pierce the swimming sky
matter courting air. Standing,
old souls unlock second
chances, skeleton keys free seeds
from death’s indifferent grasp,
clasp cloying sweetness of decay,
sway the pendulum
from a mulch of leaves. Saplings

rise, shoots scorning
finitude with teeming
love. Unfurl, kiss
fractured light sifting through
re-canopied boscage, mirrored.
Maternal forest, in spring’s lullaby,
a symbiosis of flora and fauna,
breathe carbon, exhale oxygen,
murmuring secret language of migration,
roots inching forward.

Speed is not the work of trees,
losing, to create. Impermanence
remakes the prosaic, (the) routinized.
Trees, sage magicians, traffic
in connection, miracle.

Gayle J. Greenlea is an American-Australian poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work has been published in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press, The Wombwell Rainbow, Fevers of the Mind, Kalonopia and The Australian Health Review. Twitter: @GJGreenlea

Artist Statement:  Art has a unique ability, even responsibility, to wake people up, to help them engage emotionally with fearful and disturbing subjects, and hopefully, stir them to action. Pablo Neruda said, ‘Poetry is bread’ and a tool for justice. I believe language is powerful and that writing can play a role in justice-making and social change.  

Art/Banner: Serial Trees (from a Sequence). A VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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