The Mulberry Tree

Behold! A Spirit, born once more,
Knocked upon Alcestis’ door,
The portal creaked, then opened wide —
Thisbe’s ghost appeared inside.

The Spirit blanched and turned to flee,
Fearing what he’d come to see,
Then Thisbe spoke, in cadence bright:
“Orion, hunter of the night,

“Come stay a while, be not afraid,
Come tarry with this lonely shade,
My friends of old have turned to dust,
You’re one of few that I still trust.”

The Spirit kneeled, bowed his head,
Then summoned courage, rose, and said:
“You know that I have traveled long,
In lands deaf to Orion’s song.

“Where’er I go, I see the lack
Of those inclined toward looking back.
Fair ghostly presence, few remain
That know of Thisbe’s crimson stain.”

She spoke: “Oh yes, the world moves on,
And with each rosy-fingered dawn
Time’s marker ticks another notch,
Alas, its march we can but watch,

“And with its march, times past do fade,
Past’s lover is tomorrow’s shade,
Time’s boot doth trample memory,
Thus few now know the bloody tree.

“The tree of life, the tree of death!”
She spake them both in single breath.
“My lover’s blood with mine flowed free
To feed the root of mulb’ry tree.

“And as we joined the realms of dead
The tree’s fruit turned a somber red,
Emblem of our tragic doom,
Sweet-sad child of legend’s womb.

“Our lives were o’er, yet we lived on —
Paradox quite finely drawn,
Sages’ logic to confute
With tree’s attesting crimson fruit.”

Orion spoke: “Your song, and mine,
Doth light against the dark align,
Though few may hear, yet fewer see,
We must needs sing of mulb’ry tree,

“Odysseus’ journey, Priam’s plight,
The spirits that illume the night —
Repair time’s ravage, mend the breach,
With muse-inspired metered speech.”

The Spirit bowed and took his leave,
Pausing not his plight to grieve,
Instead, he vowed to journey long,
Singing out Orion’s song.

Songs immortal, crystal-cast,
Melodic bridges to the past.
Though few may hear, yet fewer see,
We must needs sing of mulb’ry tree.

Copyright © by John Remmers.