Upon A Tree
I cast my gaze upon a crooked tree
And run my eyes over its withered,
I cannot tell how old it is.
Above its faded, scoured waist it forks,
Two weather-sculpted limbs emerge.
How motionless its body broken, how
Green the spring around it.
I suppose that it is dead
This headless shape of wood.
Within, the sap lies still, stiffened
By unsoft time that lays to waste all majesty.
Below, perhaps, away from prying eyes like mine,
Dendritic roots spread out in spidery webs;
Entombed within the quiet of the earth
They patiently await new birth.
I wrote this as I looked out on a seemingly-dead tree from inside the library of the NIAS campus, a small campus beside the IISc campus.
I remember wanting to give expression to seeing a withered Jacaranda Mimosifolia on my daily run. That didn’t materialize, but it may have worked itself into this poem.