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There's what the trees are to the people
who sit or stroll under them
(tame chaoses that bring order
to the chaos of orderly human streets),
what the trees are to themselves
(Dancers for whom shape is motion?
Scared hungry survivors of a persecuted race?
Transmuters of sky to earth, earth to sky?
"The Life"--as primitive peoples are
"The People"? Eaters of light, cradlers
of cool darkness, wind instruments...?)
and what the trees are to this painter
(there, there and intricately there,
presenting light-luring planes
in every orientation known to the sun,
subdued only by the blue-eyed highlights
in that dual streetlight--echoed by sky
peeping through the tree behind it--
for these are spheres,
emblems of perfect order
comprising all imaginable planes,
fascinating light even more than the chaos
of a million leaves.
To themselves the lights are nothing at all,
unless the world, like this painting,
is someone's communication.
October 6, 2002