• “Orpheus, Gathering the Trees"

    The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Book X, Lines 86-110.

    When love died the second time,
    he sang at dawn in the empty field
    and the bees came to listen.
    A little song for the tag alder,
    the rue cherry the withe-willow—
    the simple-hearted ones that come quickly
    to loneliness.
    Then he sang for the mulberry
    with its purple fruit,
    for the cedar and the tamarack.
    He sang, bel canto. for the quaking aspen
    and the stave oak;
    something lovely for the white pine,
    the fever tree, the black ash.
    From the air, he called the sparrows
    and the varieties of wrens.
    Then he sang for a bit of pestilence—
    for the green caterpillars,
    for the leaf worms and bark beetles.
    Food to suit the flickers and the crows.
    So that, in the wood lot,
    there would always be empty places.
    So he would still know loss.”

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