Arbor Vitae

Beside the golden gate there grows a tree
Whose heavy fruit gives entrance to the ways
Of Wonder, and the leaves thereof are days
Of desolation — nights of agony
The buds and blossom for the fruits to be:
Rooted in terror the dead trunk decays,
The burdened branches drooping to the clays
Clammy with blood of crushed humanity.

But lo the fruit! Sweet-bitter, red and white,
Better than wine — better than timely death
When surfeited with sorrow — Lo the bright
Mansions beyond the gate! And Love, thy breath
Fanning our flaming hearts where entereth
Thy Song of Songs with Love’s tumultuous light.