Willow

I love willow trees. They look so graceful, and yet they can also be be wistful or sad or dramatic at different times. You can hide within the curtain of the branches, where the sunlight is filtered to be much more gentle and mellow, and the branches become an almost translucent veil that conceals you from the world. It’s a wonderful shady place to hide on a hot afternoon. At night, under moonlight, they can be eerie or downright spooky depending on the weather.

Recently, I have felt as though the trailing habit and bare branches of the willows — it’s winter here in Australia— provide imagery that I can really relate to. I’ve been sad and mournful. I have looked to the quiet beauty of nature for comfort. I have strong roots in faith, family and friendship that have held me firm during a turbulent month of anguish, loss and grief. And even when I don’t seem to be thriving, I’m alive on the inside.

Those are the truths that I drew on when writing this poem. I wanted to evoke sadness, but maintain hope of better things to come. I wanted to look forward to spring while experiencing winter.

Image by jplenio on Pixabay

Willow tree languishes,
Graceful, trailing branches
Naked and exposed;
Mourning the fallen leaves
Now scattered, dry, decaying, 
Returning all to dust.

Bare limbs sway in chill wind
But strong roots hold firm,
Drawing on unseen wellsprings
That nourish and sustain
Through seasons of deep sorrow,
Replenishing spent tears.

Yet, within, new hope builds—
Anticipation of that soft budding flush,
Infant leaves waiting to unfurl
A fresh and verdant veil
When the wailing of winter
Is finally over.

©2020 Joanne Van Leerdam

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