Sunday, March 25, 2012


Photo: Charles David Miller

I knew well the tree that bore
the fruit of songs. It harbored stars
and the gentle Spring wind and called
into life dawn where the orioles perch.

The red dog chased the rubber ball
while the black dog ate white fish
on the shores of lakes without end.
We swam in waves that stretched
to the farthest shore, there where
the light-house beam cuts night in two.
Ships afloat with iron bullion steered
past wilderness and tracked the
water like Leviathan seeking rest.

We felt what earth and sky and dream
felt, for their names were on our lips
like the flower that blooms at night
and opens with dew on its buds.
Our tread echoed the deer on the moss,
our feet raced the horse to the sun,
our eyes scanned mountain tops
as we dove in and out of the wind.

It was a day like no other, when earth
began its wail. We sought shelter
beneath the tree, huddling close
in our skin that each knew as the other.
We had no fear then, only concern
that the sun might consume the fields
and char the remnants of our joy.
There was only concern that skin
might turn to powder like the leaf
in autumn or the wood in fire.

Then the sky spewed out its poison,
the lakes went dry and the white fish
flapped gray and sick in crusting mud.
The skies themselves
flamed colors we'd never seen,
sick with revenge and anger.
It was then we left, not to return.

I knew that tree that sang our joy.
It stands there still, behind the gates
of fading memory and angel sword,
lit by anger and despair for what we had done.

(c) Copyright 2012 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.


  1. This poem is quite a journey. As I begin reading, I am caught up in the 'perfect day' and a feeling of spring being in the air. Then I am caught up in a bit of worry / fear; but still hope. And the ending: In a way it reminds me of the garden of eden. The tree can be seen, but is from this point on forbidden. And only feelings of regret remain. Whew, quite a poem.

  2. I love the scene you described here Charles....a perfect place...then the wailing of the earth, and spewing of poison. The ending is full of regrets and allusion to the angel sword, lit by anger and despair, makes me think this is the tree in the garden of eden too ~

  3. I'm thinking this is about the loss of innocence and grace.Being cast out from paradise,

    1. Yes, it is that tree I had in mind, placed in a present context.

  4. First glance everything can seem all bright and cheery, and it usually is, but the more you sink or grow the more it can become such a poison, if one lets it. Wonderful play off the tree, just spinning it bac around to where the happy was found and loss occured.

  5. I know I have a large whirlpool in my brain that sucks everything down into the sub-sea of myth, but this poem seems to me about not just our personal journey, but the World Tree, Ygdrasil, whose roots go into the icemelt deeps of the land of the giants and whose weight supports the midgard serpent of our species' entire joint life...whose death is our world's death. Above and beyond my personal associations, this is a fine work of craft, Charles, delicately drawn, with strong but unobtrusive touches of pure color and defining shadow. Pure pleasure to read, despite the solemn and profound sense of loss.

  6. dang this is awesome the message and the apocalyptic moment is quite intense....depending on your belief, there is a tree at the beginning of time and one at the end as well...and in many of the stories a tree is prevailing for the salvation as well...really this is very well done, love the detail, love the feel....nice man

  7. How powerful! I couldn't help feeling astounded, almost crushed by nature's power. I especially liked these lines:
    "on the shores of lakes without end"
    "huddling close
    in our skin that each knew as the

  8. I like the contrasts in the poem... between black and white, earth and sky, angel and sword, for example. It fits well with the contrast between innocence and bitter knowledge.

  9. such a read charles!

    i can only mostly echo everyone above, the lines about the skin, the loss of paradise/garden of eden, the beauty of the verses yet their powerful under-current and pull of loss, then the road to that loss from such a place of beauty - wow!

    and these lines,

    "Our tread echoed the deer on the moss,
    our feet raced the horse to the sun...."

    this might well be my favorite from you yet, the transitions, language, pace, and images just worked so well together -

    yet i also feel this is like a part one, of ?

    after all, after the loss of paradise, down the road of despair, the new testament then came along -

    but that's another whole story, yet one i think you could tell (of your own journey)

    it seems to me, for me, that though we've been "forgiven" - the reciprocal forgiveness, from within ourselves, is the next and, again for me, hardest phase...

    but regardless, your poem stands, great work there charles, thank you ;-)

  10. great symbolism in this charles..great play on the tree of life as well...and heck..if nature would pay us back, we would crash in seconds...

  11. Such a blend of beauty and sadness in this. Wonderful photo and your word-imagery, woven with color, is so rich.

  12. Agree with above comments. I didn't see the paradise lost until the end; again another poem today about the effects of broken love. This spring our thoughts seem to be turning to why can't love work, rather than just falling deliciously into it. It must be the clouds that seem to surround us.

    This is beautifully written, so adroit at weaving the beauty of nature into your life and love. Excellent write.

  13. Chaz, this was a revelation... like the Book. Begins steeped in natural beauty and scenery, then come the storm clouds of a doubtful future... finally, the earth can't handle us anymore. Speaks in a strong way about the harm we are doing to the planet we were given to steward, not exploit. Thanks, Amy

  14. I was happily chirping along like the oriole (have never seen one, however) until this foreboding line: It was a day like no other, when earth
    began its wail.
    It seemed more than a storm was coming and I began to frown. By the end I was hoping, with tears in my eyes, that you might submit it to one of the earth conservancy organizations, along with your awesome photo. The way you share this important message deserves to be more widely read.

  15. There are so many good things In this - the beam cutting the night in two was one that struck me. A thoroughly enjoyable read, which I shall repeat at my earliest opportunity.

  16. The tree is indeed everything, I think this is a beautiful tribute.

  17. Can't help but see the original tree in Eden here...but this poem has such power, sadness, anger from the gods at our careless stewardship as well...lost opportunities to safeguard, a green gift. A beautiful and touching piece, Chazz. Thank you!

  18. "what we had done" ...brilliant,a scaled completion of the cycle of humanity's depletion of it's soul in the names of progress...turning the sharp beautiful landscapes into the cutting rooms and barbershops of old...we can't carve a way out of our sins, we can only hope they are reborn as lighthouses in creative forms...thanks for sharing this...Edward

  19. A powerful poem. The darkness creeping in, in the second stanza with the black dog and the white fish as the first metaphors for good and evil, devil and angel? And then, your diabolic ship ignoring the beauty of the wilderness as it tracks the water like it were tarmac. A very eery feel to the build-up. A great read.

  20. Really enjoyed the surreal signifying the real, our stories told..IMO innoncence is a state of heart, we decide whether to lose it or hold it sacred

  21. This is just a wonderful poem, Charles. Evokes everything from Eden to acid rain, with some atomic incidents in between, but manages to retain a beautiful romantic lyricism at the same time. Really lovely. K.