The Trees’ Prayer

beneath the trees we scatter

stones, crystals sprinkled,

quartz, adventurine, jasper,

shining on whiteout pavements,

hematite and sea stone offered,

we’re gifted branches by the Rowan

that once gave us an indoor sukkah

while I was bedbound in our home,

one loosed branch will be my pointer

in the time yet to be spun,

I’ll eat oranges, candles in the peel

while the moon is waxen, flaxon

in the night filling the sun-skimmed bowl

until the two renew their union,

creation woven, again whole,

we’ll offer these lights to trees living near,

placing them within sugar-iced soil

embedding warm, glowing spheres

where the freeze gathers sparks,

turning snowflakes into water,

and gemstones into arks,

and the birds in branches answer

heralding when the thaw starts

with greetings from groves far

away on the flipside of the world,

heat in the belly of Shechinah,

the fruit is now waiting in my bowl,

whispering blessings from bestowers

whose branches are already full,

their offerings bowling over,

recalling our segments as integral

as rays unfolding almonds’ flowers,

now sap awakens, planning blossom

and sun-juiced joy upon the bougher,

light, wood and plants now fill my room,

infused with a promise of summer,

snowdrops will harken springtime soon,

their brave, bare heads aquiver

until the crocus is in bloom,

yet now, in thawing winter,

I have adorned and trimmed my broom

with jute, satin leaves, lights aflicker

bessom emblem of the arbor;

some call her Asherah;

branched in-dwelling presence;

in orchards of Shechinah;

the Tree of Life, her roots, skirts

mirrored on my green-clad altar,

Shevat circlets, seeds of life trivets,

young aloes transplanted , hyacinth showers,

the lanterned birch, my purring cat,

the bulbs peering out like eyes to see,

the tree slice charting its lived hours

in orbits, scribing its own eulogy;

every tree, a thriving tower,

a dwelling nook, a place to feed,

a well bearing water,

a store bearing seed,

a place of shade and shelter

that aids all life to breathe,

trees fullfill so many needs

our own, our fellow creatures,

written in so many creeds,

faiths, customs, folklore, cultures,

as the Divine within all life decrees

that we must honour her,

so, in my moon-marked calendar,

in accordance with an ancestry

whose roots go deep and far,

it is the birthday of all trees,

nuts and pears upon the green

of my table, as I offer

welcome to oncoming spring,

safe and warm indoors

we repot tender saplings

and speak prayers into the night air,

biting still, breath steaming, clear,

yet, it is the trees’ own prayers I hear.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch