I vowed that I would be a tree.
I went up to an oak and said,
“What shall I do that I might be
A beech, an oak, or any tree,
With branches leafing from my head?”
There was a sound of sap that ran,
There was a wind of leaves that spoke.
“So you would cease to be a man,
And be a green tree, if you can,
A pine, a beech, an oak?”
I answered, “I am tired of men,
As tired as they of me.
I fain would not return again
To the perplexity of men,
But straightway be a tree.”
There was a sound of winds that went
To summon every oldest tree,
To hold their austere Parliament
About the thing had craved to be
Elect of their calm company.
There was a sound of bursting tide,
There was a wash of clanging foam,
A crumbling shore, a bursting tide.
There came a thunder that outcried,
“Go, wretched mortal, get thee home!
“Who art thou that would be a tree,
Least of the weeds that shoot and pass?
Bide till a Wisdom come, and see
Before a mortal be a tree,
He first must be a blade of grass!”
—Louis Golding (1895–1958), Sorrow of War, 1919