“Tannenwald,” oil on canvas, by Anton Dieffenbach, 1888.

by Günther Bedson

Like a tree your roots are gnarled and twisted
in the dampness of this earth
your yellow leaves swirling D-major triplets
dancing down to the square
and simple tomb
where now I kneel hands locked
in solemn prayer and reverie

I say nothing
for there are no words

We are alone together in this sweet garden
and there is a silence we share
that is neither tranquility nor melancholy
more a pause
like the intake of a clarinet’s breath
reaching deeply
into my aching rib-cage

There are rich smells of old summer leaves
wild mushrooms, toadstools
and rotting apples spread beneath the trees
where once you tuned your voice
a gleaming apple
ripe and untouched
and wet with morning dew

Your greens are pastoral F-major
shades refined and subtle like an artist’s palate
strokes so delicate
that the tastes of this thick autumn breeze
are like viola tremolos dripping
an oily elixir
of waxy honey

I run my fingers
along the staves of your old bark
caressing you
the way I would my father’s bristled cheeks
if he were with me here
if I could
if only I still could

omega man

Günther Bedson is half English, half German. His poems and photographs have appeared in Badlands (Cal State San Bernardino) and Lily: An Online Literary Review. He lives in Berlin.