There Is a Tree I Lean Against

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Published Date:31-07-2017
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There Is a Tree I Lean Against Lucretia E Pretorius There Is a Tree I Lean Against Lucretia E. Pretorius © Copyright 2015 Lucretia E Pretorius
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 Preface In spare yet sure strokes, Lucretia Pretorius conjures up a childhood in rural Canada, where sentient trees and winter’s aurora borealis silently wove themselves into a young girl’s imagination. All, alas, left behind when she moved with her husband and infant daughter to South Africa. To a barren land, alien culture, and loveless marriage. Even so, meadows and trillium-carpeted woods can never be truly left behind. They are very much present, along with the people and places of Africa she came to love, in the verse of a woman who refused to be crushed by a life-time of departures. A Tree I Lean Against In Woods In woods, after winter when wet winds blow, walking, I kick aside November’s brown oak leaves, discover the first bloom, Spring Beauty, rising out of black, snow-drenched earth — five water-coloured petals on stem so frail you’d think the weight of one oak leaf would break it. I kneel awhile, then walk away and leave it there among rough leaves that soon will shift and hide it from the light. 1L E Pretorius Dew I need quiet as grass needs dew every day. It used to be prayer my inner voice clamoured regularly. Quiet is better. I can hear the universe. 2 A Tree I Lean Against Exorcism I answer you, faces appearing unwelcomed from my purgatory memories. I do not fear you now. Say I was awkward, foolish, naive. Yet I could sing more beautifully than any of you. I thank you now for your tormenting that brought a certain anger together with the pain and made me grow while you stayed small. And I can sing more beautifully than you can understand. 3L E Pretorius Healer He loved us. He did not ask for thanks. He did his work. He grew too tired to continue. We thanked him. Then, they say, he died. We love him — do not believe he is dead. Though he could not heal himself of mortality, neither could he die. — for Dr. Robert Kelso 4A Tree I Lean Against Dialogue Your eyes are green, blue-grey green like the sea. And you are like the sea, deep and strong and unexplored. And you have hazel eyes, green outside, brown inside, like the earth whose leaves and grass cover secrets from men's eyes. You have your moods of calm and sometimes storm. You have your seasons, no single climate. Tell me, then, how you love me. Like the sea, my love, deep, unchanging down below the waves. You do not chide me for my words that come as plentifully as leaves and snow upon the earth. You hear the things I do not say. 5L E Pretorius Awakening Early Nothing so tenuous as birdsong begun in the dark of the morning, except the thread whereby all happiness depends - the breath of the loved one. 6A Tree I Lean Against Autumn Leaves: My Friend is Crying Red September gold October fires subside into November. Burned-out embers slowly crumble, spreading softly into ashes. Woman's eyes alight with love are not extinguished with a blow. Their glowing dies reluctantly; each day a little more is gone. Bright leaves fallen, fade and darken. Burned-out embers slowly crumble. So a grief becomes complete, spreading softly into ashes. 7L E Pretorius Teargatherer I try to gather up some of the tears of others lost in their pain into myself. Sometimes I think I'll break. I would not have to gather tears if I were certain Another went searching, finding each wandering one. 8A Tree I Lean Against Cancer Ward Four to a room, or rather, a window that she and I and the other two watched, before she died. We thought the nights would never end or black sky grow pale. We listened to each other, every sound important. Some small thing it was happened in an instant, revealing us as sisters. I got up from my bed and walked away from them, slowly, afraid I would forget. 9 L E Pretorius Enchantment Dreaming over a candle flame remembering other times I gazed into these same blue-grey eyes, certain that I'd never wish for any other pair of eyes. But apart in a quiet room my little child lies, not knowing, in her dreaming, how I'm longing for her lovely blue-grey eyes. 10 A Tree I Lean Against Wintersickness The weight of many months of snow lies heavy on us all. Wind-singing lakes with pine-tree shores and secret streams that turn tree corners sleep imprisoned, unaware. The long pale grass cannot remember swishing against my calves; the brown dust and pebbles of quiet roads are undisturbed. But you hear me sigh, and I see you are still. The weight of many months of snow lies heavy on us all. 11L E Pretorius Reflection on a Winter Night Still, white winter night. Dark above where light belongs. Over the frozen sculpted snow, borrowed light suspended. A darkened sky, a glow on earth, that we may not begin to doubt the shining of a star. 12 A Tree I Lean Against Lullaby for Sadness Cool green, kind blue, treetops against the sky. Cool green, quiet blue, burning eyes drink it. Feverish passions leave the war that neither won. But cool green, quiet blue remain and win. Within or without, the same, cool quiet inherit the earth. 13 L E Pretorius Through the Labyrinth If I open my arms and take joy, let its imperfectness hurt me, there is the shining thread. Tears in my laughter appear to be flowing into tomorrow. If this is foresight, then it may be that even my grief will be incomplete If I open my arms. 14 A Tree I Lean Against Where the Small Things Go I wonder where they go, my little child's toys. Her busy hands have touched them, arranging and scattering until she went to bed. When the house is quiet, I kneel down and search for all the little playthings that seem to have gone away where the baby years go. 15

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