A Ballad of Birches



Long before
dry winter’s airs
arrive in force,

barked and skinned,
the shins of trunks
peel off in mottled hunks –

come in curls
and shed in chunks.

A tree’s poor knees
are knobbed and split,
its cracking skin
a ruffled maze,

a vision crazed
by each season’s
toll on timber.

Birch —

its history written
on its paper skin
in sheering waves,

its life published
on cascades –
arboreal parchment.

Reams and sheaves
of sylvan lore
have been shucked
and sifted to
this forest floor,

the warp and woof
of bark and roof
leave a tale yet untold–

save to patient
woodland dreamers.

Barked shins and
shinned barks

skinned limbs on trees

mottled and dappled
smooth and marbled,

the birch’s skin
now lies bare.

Free to be seen.

to be scarred.





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