the olive tree given to us after the war
never looked like those of Greek verse
which English poets went looking for.
what sorrows? & how could a tree be
deathless? useful I understood,
to make oil for food, warmth & light.
not until I pruned the lower branches,
the gnarled trunk of the maturing tree
revealed — giving it that classic look
& room enough to sit in the afternoon
under its lacework of silver green,
breathing ten thousand years of memory.
Published in Poetry New Zealand 40, March 2010.