Monday, December 14, 2009

Walnut Tree


I lie on the bed in a thin dress and watch

the morning sun,

after a week of rain, colour the grey walls cream,

and soften the air into a cream warmth.


Soon I will walk the street to the sea,

slide through its white mouths to roll

on its blue gums.


I will lie on sand the colour of corn

and watch the joggers pressing their bodies’ breath

through their limbs,

and the lips of the sea opening and closing

over the irrepressible complacency of sand.


Then a walnut tree, its ponderous branches,

its generosity of leaves,

rises though the brambles of my mind.

Beneath it, amongst a riot of leaves, lie mature brown

walnuts, young hazel walnuts,

and baby walnuts still moist-wrapped

in their green blankets.


And see a child in coat and gumboots bending

her small back.

She stamps on the nuts,

loosens the flesh from the shells and chews

their hard, white flesh.

The bitter, rebellious flavour lingers on her tongue,

the juices stain her fingers.

She puts some nuts in her pocket for after.


I realise in all these years in this beloved country

I have never stood beneath a walnut tree

and remembered,

and wonder if, in these wearing-out days,

I should return to the land of that walnut tree,


and with skin whipped clean from the pitched winds

of the Alps, search for the walnut-wrinkled faces

my childhood knew and together pluck brown walnuts from cosseting leaves,

eat them, and lick the stains from our fingers;

the children of who we were, before the adult theft

of what we became.


Caroline Glen ©

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