The Tree's Prayer

A poem by George MacDonald

Alas, 'tis cold and dark!
The wind all night hath sung a wintry tune!
Hail from black clouds that swallowed up the moon
Beat, beat against my bark.

Oh! why delays the spring?
Not yet the sap moves in my frozen veins;
Through all my stiffened roots creep numbing pains,
That I can hardly cling.

The sun shone yester-morn;
I felt the glow down every fibre float,
And thought I heard a thrush's piping note
Of dim dream-gladness born.

Then, on the salt gale driven,
The streaming cloud hissed through my outstretched arms,
Tossed me about in slanting snowy swarms,
And blotted out the heaven.

All night I brood and choose
Among past joys. Oh, for the breath of June!
The feathery light-flakes quavering from the moon
The slow baptizing dews!

Oh, the joy-frantic birds!--
They are the tongues of us, mute, longing trees!
Aha, the billowy odours! and the bees
That browse like scattered herds!

The comfort-whispering showers
That thrill with gratefulness my youngest shoot!
The children playing round my deep-sunk root,
Green-caved from burning hours!

See, see the heartless dawn,
With naked, chilly arms latticed across!
Another weary day of moaning loss
On the thin-shadowed lawn!

But icy winter's past;
Yea, climbing suns persuade the relenting wind:
I will endure with steadfast, patient mind;
My leaves will come at last!

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