Sonnet 92 [Behold that Tree, in Autumn’s dim decay]

Anna Seward - 1747-1809
Behold that Tree, in Autumn’s dim decay, 
   Stript by the frequent, chill, and eddying Wind; 
   Where yet some yellow, lonely leaves we find 
   Lingering and trembling on the naked spray, 
Twenty, perchance, for millions whirl'd away! 
   Emblem, alas! too just, of Humankind! 
   Vain Man expects longevity, design'd 
   For few indeed; and their protracted day 
What is it worth that Wisdom does not scorn? 
   The blasts of Sickness, Care, and Grief appal, 
   That laid the Friends in dust, whose natal morn 
Rose near their own;—and solemn is the call;— 
   Yet, like those weak, deserted leaves forlorn, 
   Shivering they cling to life, and fear to fall!

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Every Infant's Blood

Every tree is an ancestor tree, 
not just grandfather redwoods. 
Every sapling, every sprout, 
carries that majesty, 
the dissolution of stone and bone, 
of mold and leaf and tongue, 
flowing as freely as blood 
in earth's leisurely body, 
the oldest and slowest rhythms 
crooning in its ways.

But who can sing with maple and beech 
in the cold wind's demanding meters? 
The crimson and gold of their dying fall 
choke the singing of our blood.
We cling to the tree of our moment, 
weep for its unleaving; our mothers 
and brothers, so recently fallen, 
neither flow in the roots 
nor creep upward under the bark 
nor come to rest in orderly rings.

We know where our flesh is buried, 
know the place and mark it, 
but also know the repetend, 
know the flesh will bend 
to the root, creep in the trunk, 
sing in the leaf, 
fall and repeat itself, 
old as every wizened oak, 
old as the sap and sea salt 
in every infant's blood.