Above the frozen water meadow winter sunlight flashes
frail birches stand in line, a guard against the traffic,
their silvered arms outstretched above the dying rushes.
Icy wind blows bitter from the east, fills my eyes with tears.
The trees, in faint whisper, sighing, leaning,
speak of vanished woodlands they will never know

Far away, in the West, two hundred miles and more,
a brook bubbles, dancing, sings in a hidden hollow.
Twisted oaks, clothed in moss and lichen, entwined with ivy,
born of wilful acorns, rooted in ancient rock, remain undaunted.
From dawn to dusk, the air is full of bird song until the owl hoots.
Peace surrounds, enfolds, and, with night, bewitches.

I stand on this path at the side of the road
gaze at the birch trees, the sunset spread behind them.

This place is so empty.


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