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Mulberry Tree

Spirits of the night seek my boughs for shelter -
even the lioness, as she touches lips
to stream, stains the current pink with blood –
even for her my mossy roots serve as a wall
against some darker thing. Only the ancient senators mourn,
who find their fallow bodies eaten away, chink by chink.

And the children whose love grew through a tiny chink,
the vine through a wall that was not a shelter,
met at this grave, to twice more consecrate a place of mourning.
For only by the light of stars, and only once, would their lips
meet, taunting the stone that sought to wall
from one another lovers, and passion stronger than blood.

Alas! For it is now those lovers’ blood
that drips from my fruit, splatters onto chinks
in crumbling tombs. Perhaps there was no wall
strong enough change such fate. I shelter
under trembling leaves two pairs of lips,
two broken, but united, hearts. Their parents mourn

together by reproachful light of morn.
But their hands remain unstained by blood,
as mine are not; a doom brought to this lipless
witness of a sorrow sold to children by a chink
in a front of brick. Thisbe’s veil cannot shelter
her from lions, love, or grief – a faulty wall.

For Pyramus, his blade served as a wall
against the night; but gleaming steel, more mournful
yet than veiling silk, brought grief to sheltering
boughs, when passion and a right hand let blood
weep forth, and a sword carved deadly chinks
in devastated breasts, turning pale two lovers’ lips.

Let thy fruit darken for a memory – from rigid lips.
Elysian fields hold for no ghost a wall,
and never is embrace prevented by too small a chink.
And if forever I am consigned to mourn,
for such exchange of kiss and tear and blood,
then more than me I know they have for shelter.

Forever I will mourn my taste of blood,
fed to me by the chink in a wall
that was not a shelter for two lovers’ lips.





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