by Theodore Roethke
Negative tree, you are belief
Engendered by an iron grief,
A variously compounded fact
Denied the favor of swift act.
With terrible precision, you
Can split an aging rock in two;
Yet in your dumb profusion there
Is quiet, positive and clear.
You are a timeless sorrow thrust
Beyond the dreamlessness of dust.
You are a bird, securely bound,
That sings the song of voiceless ground,
And builds a nest in sterile stone,
Yet breeds no kin of flesh and bone.
You are a bird denied, the blood
Of earth in flying attitude.
Note: A recitation can be heard here.