Botany for Children

The touseled children
have their own way
with trees,
their own classification…
(Chris Wallace-Crabbe, “Timber”)

Some are named for likeness
to familiar things: the lemon tree
in Nanna’s garden becomes
a prototype for all other trees
in all other gardens.

And some are named
by analogy or comparison:
big tree, little tree,
special tree; and what
is bottlebrush but a metaphor turned
to proper use?

Yet others gain
the specificity of the eager learner,
like Adam flushed
with the daily discovery of all
living things and growing things,

and as tongue learns it way
around the tangled mechanics of thought,
a surprise clarity: paperbark!
a joyful melaleuca.

Memento Mori: After Chris Wallace-Crabbe

abel pann
Abel Pann – Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

And Adam, seeing that
immortality had not clothed him but
left his glory naked,

felt in his body the future ache
of all who would toil and moil
their mortal days, and

taking Eve’s hand, he hid
their rude-awakened flesh
in the quiet of a deceitful glade

while the immortal searched
to clothe them and teach
their mortal bodies again to praise.

I, like Adam, fancy myself a god
and hide when my flesh
exposes the subtle dream.

Yet in the cool of the day,
when the creator covers my failing skin,
I can learn it is better

to be clothed by Him.