Three Trees

What makes this full grown tree resemble a bonsai?
Bonsai is a centuries old art form, the slow shaping
of trees, restricting roots and cutting back foliage
so that they remain tiny but resemble their full-size brethren
in their shape and scale.

Perhaps through centuries and increasing world wide
cultural awareness, bonsai has shaped us too.

Here is a tree in a park, perhaps a little more twisted
of branch than most, its leaves perhaps a little smaller
than expected, their tufts spaced apart almost artfully.

Did anyone shape the beauty of this tree?
I doubt it. It is itself, unpruned except for reasons of safety.

Cold and grey. The cherry trees have dropped
nearly all their blossoms. Across the way is a stand of apples
I think apples
let us say apples
still covered in white and pale pink blooming.

They seem out of place in April’s
characteristic cruelty

but further up the walk there are a few
leaner somethings whose deep pink-red
buds did not pale but burst into deep pink-red
flowers that stand up to the cold

bright and tough.

Every year I wait months for the tall trees to leaf out.
It starts on the first soft day of March and only intensifies
through snowdrops, past daffodils and into tulip weeks.

The green starts lower down, bushes and hedges and then
cherries and apples, the little trees that seem so child-sized
I always forget they must be twice as tall as me.

They stand like sculptures, covered in flowers, magnificent
but I am waiting for the canopy.

When we go to this park on the weekend
we pick one of two benches across from three
tall trees, which are lindens. I learned their name and
seed pods and leaf shapes after many hours
in their company.

They are the only big trees in this small park that I am sure of,
and they are the only ones still holding on
to dark furled buds.

I want to thank the other trees around the lawn
for their early efforts, the change they are making to the light
and the shade

but they are not lindens, or oaks or maples
or sycamores
and I do not know how.

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