Just some trees.
In morning, crisp bird wing cracking from the limbs as each tests its voice in an alarm, a call to the tree and leaf, as the owl calls its last for mates, the sounds on the wind are indistinguishable from the hopeful light, ingrafted thoughts and breezes and glimmers, with the colors -- even the dead browns -- dipped in hue again because of the teasing fingers, the question of the light. Then especially I cannot help seeing with the special sight daylight and nightlight deny. I have to see the skyward vocal of geese as part of the rustling trees and a foil for the hammer-fall of a barking dog shouting to absent or sleeping owners that he has seen a threat. The swirl of pinestraw in the roadway is an accident of eddies in rainwater and microclimate, but in the morning light I cannot miss the way that the pinestraw has repeated the shapes of the clouds against a gray sky of ashphalt.
The "infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing" is not here, but only because here would become a place. From freedmen in Herculaneum to indebted and suborned Americans, men have stuck single trees in front of their houses, and the wind has shaken the trees for thousands of years. The leaves sparkle like exploding tinsel as their starved trunks swing wildly, acting as if they had a mind to break free and get out of the place at last, though the wind always slides away before the sapling can snap. . . or fly. A few more decades, and the tree will no longer try such things but will stand still, acting as if it felt nothing at all. The same wind will blow. In fact, the same wind is blowing now that blew the freedman who lived safely outside the crime and corruption of Rome, for it has never stopped. The air is always stumbling down the stairs, and we breathe the breath our heroes let fly, ourselves only rooted to one place and time and waving about.
I ask my memory and imagination for an explanation that will stick, for a metaphor that will shatter words and images and alarm the reader enough to make the fire leap, but every metaphor has been worn to the nub of catachresis. My memory and imagination come back to me, chiding like Lazarus: the reading world has better counsel than yours, so why would a court listen to one with so little wergild?
The symphony, the song, the rhapsody that remains a poem no matter how various -- every new accident becomes part of a plan that always was -- all are reflections. Each is a word in a new sung voice. Each is a hymn to the glory of God. Let some new, arbitrary, accidental, curious, ugly, sound or shape or shade fall into the light, and the light makes it part of the song, and now it was always part of the harmony, always a rest in the measure or a cross hatching in the brush stroke. Such is the greatness of the first miracle.