Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Wishing Tree

I stand neither in the wilderness
nor fairyland

but in the fold
of a green hill

the tilt from one parish
into another.

To look at me
through a smirr of rain

is to taste the iron
in your own blood

because I hoard
the common currency

of longing: each wish
each secret assignation.

My limbs lift, scabbed
with greenish coins

I draw into my slow wood
fleur-de-lys, the enthroned Brittania.

Behind me, the land
reaches toward the Atlantic.

And though I’m poisoned
choking on the small change

of human hope,
daily beaten into me

look: I am still alive—
in fact, in bud.


Copyright © 2007 by Kathleen Jamie. Reprinted from Waterlight: Selected Poems with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Kathleen Jamie

Date Published: 2007-01-01

Source URL: