The Almond – Tree in the King James Version


White, yes, pale with the pallor of old timbers,
Thistle-stalks, shells, the extreme pallor of starlight —

It is the almond-tree flourishing,
An image of Age in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Premonitions, like visitors turning the door-handle,
Cry out, ‘It’s us. It’s only us.’

And I, opening the door from the other side, reply
‘Of course. You are expected.’

To memory I say: ‘You must be disciplined.’
To hands: ‘Do not tremble. Be still.’

To bones: ‘Do not ache. Remain flexible.’
To ears: ‘Do not be affrighted,
It is only the voice of the bird.’

To eyes I say: ‘Be faithful. Stay with me.
Do not, looking out of the window, be darkened.’

Yes, it is as I have always been led to believe:
Premonitions, recognitions, the need for acceptance.

The almond-tree shall flourish, and the grass-hopper shall be a burden
It is all in the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes.

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