Saturday, November 23, 2013


"Tree of Life" Tiger Lily

The day before my uncle died,
I got lost in a forest and found
A tiger lily that revealed the light
So clearly I was amazed by my luck.

My uncle served as a turret gunner
And when his plane went down in flames
A red film saturated him,
His commander believing

For a moment that Robbins was dead,
But Robbins managed to survive
Crash-landing in a ditch
And refused to go on another mission--

They said you fly or we send you home
With a dishonorable discharge. Somehow
He kept flying and made it home
Honorably, staying rooted sixty years

After the War, growing flowers
Everywhere in his yard, his only child
Killed in a car accident, his wife
Dying after a long bout with

Alzheimer‘s, his family
Consumed in crematory fires
Before he too burned to a clinker.
After being lost a long time

I encountered the tiger lily,
On fire in sunlight, brilliant
In the shade, and I made it home,
Struggling over fallen trees

Through meadows blanketed by larkspur
To find that the flowers of the soul
Can bloom when you invoke
The energies of the Gods, and that

Sometimes the Gods, like intense light,
Burn you up until all that is left
Are the flowers of light
That comprise the soul,

And you find that all shapes,
Even the Gods, are different forms
Of refracted light. Somehow, in vision,
I saw magical symbols

Of the mystical Tree before
I encountered the Tree itself,
But I never knew
What visions my uncle had

Even though for over forty years
I believed that some day I would,
His ashes joining his wife’s
And son’s on a slope at Rose Hills,

And I'd like to believe that before
The end he found a flower
That he had never noticed before
And couldn't believe his luck.

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