Some would admire simply the sense of an entirety
in your tall green uprightness. But what draws my eye is

where the light glints and catches. Where you’re seen through.
You regard them perhaps as the chinks in your chainmail?

You make me think of childhood’s artificial Christmas tree
packed away like a furled brolly in the attic by the cistern.

You sway only from your topmost tip like somebody
who does not wish to brush shoulders in a corridor.

Every branch strains to the perpendicular; breezes draw
small impermanent inlets and bays in your clenched outline

but never enough to fully trace a source that maps
the Tanganyika or Rusizi of your airbrushed interior.

Yet in a rare spaced-out daze, against your better nature,
you long for some Amazon – or a Daphne, perhaps, now

made over into a tree-climber, laurel branches hands again –
to jerk down each limb, drape them with fairy lights,

tinsel and gaudy baubles, and, with a white hollow star
placed as a topper, turn you into a real spectacle.

                                                The Interpreter’s House (52)

Index of all poems