The Magic Tree

( To Amy Lowell )

She said in her heart,
In her strange various heart
Brimmed with magic:
The Tree of Life in the garden near Babylon,
The Tree of Life that bears only one kind of fruit, —
It is not sufficient for me,
I will create my own Tree of Life;
Out of the soil that poets have tilled for ages,
Out of that soil still gravid
My tree of Life shall spring.
Bearing many fruits,
Many blossoms,
Bearing things no other tree has borne,
The cup of my heart is filled with magic,
Into the cup of my heart
Like a bird diving
Shall dart my thought
Bringing forth the jewel of power.
The pearl that dissolves not
In the acid of Magic,
The mystic jewel beyond price,
That I may create for myself
By myself
My Tree of Life.

She went apart quietly
To a quiet place
Of steadfast winds and stars that waited for sunrise
Her quiet mind as steadfast,
She locked triply
Against all things alien,
Awaiting sunrise
With the winds and stars.
And when the golden mast
Of the first day-beam
Thrust above the horizon,
It was as if the galleon of the sun
Bore down upon her freighted with treasure,
With innumerable promises,
With fulfillment.
And breathing upon the soil consecrated to poets,
She cried: " Now! Now, spring forth!
Spring forth my tree of Life!
Arise! Glitter! "
And from that soil long delved,
Worn with fruitage,
Twigs of crystal, many coloured, antlered up
Bearing leaves of silver,
Of gold, of copper,
Of jade pallid as the white of women's eyes,
Darker than the scales of dragons,
Clearer than the core of polar ice, —
Bearing blossoms more incredible than orchids
Redder than the red in dreams,
Bluer than the blue of visions,
Of shapes fourth dimensional,
And fifth dimensional,
Terrible as the faces seen in fever,
Beautiful as the faces seen in the fever of love, —
Bearing fruit of precious stones,
Bearing samtu-stones as fruit
Like the tree in the sanctuary of Irnina;
And the crystal branches
Rhyming in form and sound,
Gave forth music,
And the jewelled fruit sang also
But with sweet dissonance
As in shape and colour;
Even the leaves and blossoms
Chimed delicately,
As though one should shake the Tree of Heaven
And set the stars ringing against one another.
Higher and higher rose the marvel
Till it stood with strong roots
Knuckling down into the warm earth,
And lo! its massive trunk
Was not of crystal
But of living wood,
And its bark clothed with fungi
Shaped fantastically,
Like little men and women,
Like imps, leprechauns, pucks, satyrs,
Things animate,
Uttering little laughs,
Little cries of rage, or grief, or pleasure,
Little songs rapid as the drumming of wood-peckers,
Little choruses of sharp notes,
Passionate as the thrumming of hares' feet in Spring!
Never, never before had such a tree
Sprung from the soil consecrated to poets!

And gazing at it she smiled,
A secret smile.
And she said:
" Now I shall have a house fitted to my spirit! "

Whereon she slipped within it,
After the mysterious fashion of dryads,
For she knew that to keep it blossoming,
She must give it her heart's blood for sap,
And to keep it fruitful,
She must quicken it with her thought
Which like a bird diving,
Had brought forth from the depth of her heart
The jewel of power,
That she might create for herself
By herself,
Her Tree of Life.
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