The Thorn TreeI leave my lady down below,
as I climb the sacred tree to God.
Sharp thorns tear my skin,
dark birds claw my face and eyes.
At last above my head, the tree trunk branches
into three, each branch growing through
a window open in the House of God.
Stealthily, I climb and peep through one,
but there is nothing there, except a silence
that tries to touch the heart of everything.
It makes me feel the way I used to feel
when I was by my love and we were quiet;
her gentleness a lily bloom inside me.
Now I climb the second branch
and passing through the window see a dove
who sings a charm upon the world
that’s like a calling bell we do not hear,
yet would grieve for should it not be there.
Like the way my love below completed
what was missing in my world
and softened all the armours of my heart.
But where is God, the Lord of Hosts?
Through the third window then I poke my head
and tumble helpless through a frightening void,
until a strong hand snatches mine
and sets me back upon my branch.
The hand was like my lady’s hand:
both sail and anchor of my soul’s boat,
in all the calm deep waters of our love
and in the choppy shallows of my fear.
Now I hurry quickly down the trunk,
filled with shame at what I could not see
while chasing what I did not understand.
But on the ground I hear my lady,
lonely and with broken heart, went to cloister
years ago and sits in a cell of silence.
With heavy heart I go back up the tree,
but find the windows shuttered from within.
Now I sit on muddy earth and weep.
The house inside me that was filled with light,
holds darkness and a deepening cold.
Those tears I made my lady shed,
when I left her on her own,
were holy water, but I knew it not.