The Dogwood Tree
For a Papal Visit

My garden has an ancient dogwood tree,
grown from a cutting from a tree that dates
back beyond all living memory.
The old gardener loves that tree, and relates
the tale of how one tree was kept alive
for thousands of years through bad times and good;
how some cuttings would falter, others thrive,
yet all, both weak and strong, bore the same wood.

As I gaze on the old tree another thing
comes to mind. With its blossom white and pure,
it stands like a solemn sentinel for Spring;
it holds together youth and age—and more:
I see that each bough like an arm clad in white,
bows under the world’s ancient dark affliction,
then lifts to grant a fragile benediction
That banishes the darkness and renews the light.