Gnarled Oak



I wonder if in his drunken state,
he walked the hill beyond the town limits,
after having killed a pint or two
with friends the way he did.
I wonder if he climbed the hill
into the distant moonlight,
and stood in the exact spot I stand in now,
and gazed at the exact stars,
and then upon the oak tree,
gnarled and rugged in the middle of that field,
almost ugly, almost too beautiful.
I wonder if he maybe etched out
in his moonlight, some beauties, some infirmities,
the normal eye would not see,
no matter how many ales colored
the golden, solemn night in a hazy hue of rue.
And here I stand struggling with these normal eyes
trying to find a beauty — a misery — to live,
knowing the while that because I come to this place
in this town, the possibilities do not increase,
and that no matter how many graves I walk,
or monuments for dead poets I visit,
or how many ghosts I resurrect
in an effort to seek kinship of spirit,
searching towns produces only weary legs
which allows sleep to come easy,
and finds every once-in-a-while something inexplicable,
an ugly, yet beautiful oak, locked in the disguise of moonlight,
and released in the words and the soul of a poet
who turns out to be only me