Poetry and Poetics
WALK IN AN OPEN GALLERY
We pass madrones leaning towards sun and sea.
It's late May, the foliage lush, trunks peeling
dark yellow and red. I think of the colors
of The Return of the Prodigal Son.
A tree and Rembrandt? A thing up from roots
out of rock and soil versus 400-year-old paint?
Why do I feel the same pause of breath, the same
tenderness, the beginning of a trembling?
What is the power of life for both? I don't know.
The old man's hands and leaves of forgiveness,
the young man's kneeling surrender, bent sapling
in terrible wind, the hardwood look of the son
who stayed, the soft, old shade the father gives
to his lost boy's yellow face. Peel away the stories
told by man and nature, a yearning for water and light,
hard stripping away of self, a starving renewal,
the hope of a royal aging, a red mercy.
© by Clifford Paul
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