Lilac Tree


Lilac Tree


When that first hard bud emerged
on the lilac tree next to the back door
I almost wondered where it came from.
The icy winter, long and hard and lasting, lasting,
Seemed to seal the ground and decimate
any opening for the slightest shoot.
But there it was, facing me
at eye level, inescapable.
Clinging as it seemed to be,
winter's chains were broken.

How could it not be also with me?
I thought. How could it not be
that the hardness of my own heart -
eclipsing any possibility of a soft soul -
could also send forth a bud, a shoot,
from a place I thought
long dead or didn't even know about?

Nothing ever ends.
Nothing. Ever. Ends.
Or is finished. the green is witness
and wonder, the outward sign
of life infinite and not yet imagined.
And isn't that sacrament?
The outward sign of inward grace?

Well, grace is nothing but a slight shift,
a lifting of a weight I didn't even know
was there. But relieved at its going,
oh inestimably, ecstatically relieved.

Not much different, really
from the downy new bud on this lilac tree
or the fuzzy leaf bursting out now
everywhere I look.
And I among them, one other sacrament
emerging from the frozen season.

Winter will be back, no doubt about that .
But with every exhilarating spring
life gets larger
without and within
like the reaching lilac tree standing sentinel at the back door.