This one owes a great deal to Robert Frost's peom Birches.



I recollect a steepling fir tree tall,

Colossal russet pitted bole, fretted, fissured,

Arrow straight and upward perpendicular:

The empyrean air transfixed.

Its boughs in horizontal fingerspread

And bearing pendent needle clutches

Wrought of ripest cedar green.


Imbricate limbs arrayed in flounces, one upon another,

Floret sprays self mounting, climbing pickaback

Ever higher, upward cascade dwindling, to crest

In verdant crown of breezy-nodding majesty.

White and teased cloudlets scud beyond it,

The vast azure deep of heaven frames it.


Lusty limbs begin to skyward mount,

Deliverance craved, shirking worldly cares.

Arms outstriking greedily

To grasp and grope at ever slimming sprays.

Faster, quicker, don't slow down!

Precipitate leaps, impatient vaults,

Busy feet dislodge and scuff

'Gainst fibrous wads of grimbling bark.


Ascending ever higher, skyward grinning;

The blue deep answering with lofting Sol

Smiling back in earthward reflex of upward gaze.

Feel the touch of soft impressing ether,

A hissing hide-and-seek among the branches.


Exulting now, I win the canting peak

The overtops the empty air:

Dizzying eyrie, gold-gilt light

And sweet and sappy scents: a halfway heaven.


Now crown to crown and helmed in light,

King of life, an upward Alexander,

I panting grip the slender sprays and peer about.

Around, below, a hooped horizon,

Long and low, whisp'ring daily cares.

A netherworld mapped out in miniature

Embossed on loamy fabric new unfurled.


And here and there green living spires

Leap up like heaven's pillars

To brace a roofing firmament.

Each one a pledge, a choice and lofty boon that well

Redeems the faithless hazards of heady ascent.