Sunday, November 13, 2011


“They believed you could be changed into a tree from grief”
(Ulysses, James Joyce)

And now you are the tree – the corruptible
Transformed into the certainty of wood,
Your roots, more expansive than your crown
Ploughing the hectic-stable earth,
Your leaves – sun-soaking and ground-shading –
Reflecting the jig of time
In the simplicity of the fall,
And in the lentic stillness of livid branches –
Offered up to appease a lurid sky
You buffer the grief of the world.


  1. Some time ago I had a debate with a pupil (secondary modern school), who claimed that trees were no plants, because humans could turn into trees. As it turned out, she had seen a documentary on a rare condition ov patients infected with human papilloma virus, the so-called tree-men, where actually virus induced warts grow out of control.

  2. Yes, if I see to recall that folks use the term "treemen" people afflicted with this. I guess I was struck, many years ago, by Joyce's use of the term.