A trail of white smoke

A trail of white smoke

A trail of white smoke
           from a wood fire
rising slowly
           this Sunday
into the ancient sky

What is age
           I ask
what is time
           and years
in the scale of things
           of ash and oak and beech
that will outlive me
           of prehistoric species
of fern

What of the days
           before flowers
before the gardenia
           before the magnolia ?
what of the days
           before beauty
had fully evolved
           into the rose ?

and as the species evolved
           when was it
that the beauty of love
           was first expressed ?
when did the acts
           of animal instinct
transform into the tenderness
           of human passion ?

John Lyons


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