Elegy for a Walnut Tree


Old friend now there is no one alive
who remembers when you were young 
it was high summer when I first saw you 
in the blaze of day most of my life ago 
with the dry grass whispering in your shade
 and already you had lived through wars 
and echoes of wars around your silence
 through days of parting and seasons of absence
 with the house emptying as the years went their way 
until it was home to bats and swallows
 and still when spring climbed toward summer
 you opened once more the curled sleeping fingers
 of newborn leaves as though nothing had happened
 you and the seasons spoke the same language
 and all these years I have looked through your limbs to the river below and the roofs and the night
 and you were the way I saw the world.

"Elegy for a Walnut Tree" by W.S. Merwin, from The Moon Before Morning. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014.

* In honor of Valentine's Day, write a love poem or love letter to a place, or a tree, or an animal that feels like an "old friend." What do you want to tell them? What have they gifted you with?

Please share your "old friend" with us below.