Elegy for My Son

There must be some terrible power

In the earth and wind and sunshine

How else could the young tree,

A favourite of these three

Sicken in a single say and die?

 

And I who took some pride over

Planting and tending it

And caught its assent to life

The sun’s and wind’s keen sponsorship of

 

This fine young tree, more admiring than proud.

There must be some strange excess of love

In earth and wind and sun that

With notice of just a little day

Took such a fine young tree away.

 

Whenever I stand in the empty place, thoughts

Brandished wildly sign and sing in memory.

Earth, wind and sun go about their work

As if nothing has occurred,

Calm as conspirators after the deed

Driving me to almost believe nothing

Has happened. I am the tree that’s gone,

That tree and I being one.

 

-Patrick Fernando

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