Fire is a tree.
The seeming fury in its branches
really is tender urgency -
it seeks the blandness of the winter sky
with a despairing love.
Fire in its youth is an ugly duckling.
It shoots up to grace and beauty,
fiercely beautiful, slender, elastic yet,
it endures the harsh critique of stone.
Eventually it warms it.
Fire can dare to kiss the moon
for its roots ancient and deep
in the memories of men and women
born to once-children whose dreams were illuminated
by its forever gentle light
support its feckless lunacy.
You are cruel to call me a creeper.
I do not creep. I am a disciple
of the weathered tree. I cling to protest respect
with the evergreen meekness of my height.