Thursday, November 4, 2010

Strawberry Tree

Thy name shall not be called Jacob but Israel:
For if thou hast been strong against God
How much more shalt thou prevail against men?

Strawberry tree, your fruit’s a second draft
Traducing original sweetness. (The rank
Response on tongue and tooth becomes the graft
Arbutus grasps to its sinewy trunk.)
Wrestling weather’s bitter angels, standing fast
By water’s edge, your unbudging form storms
Eire’s shores but leaves shadeless the English coast,
Revising landscape in religious terms.

Ruddy as blood, outlasting autumn’s length,
Your yield, unyielding to even one taste,
Transubstantiates old sweetness into new strength:
Relentless hands will bite a brother’s heel,
Embracing lust, holding God fast and chaste –
Embodied thus, Jacob's rooted soul is real.

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