B i r c h e s   


Remember how we stole them -

on the way from mother's

somewhere on the Mass Pike -

three leggy young saplings,

brought home in the trunk of the car.


How many years ago, do you think?

Could be forty.

They thrived -

your dad sat under them -


Wrote about the past -

the place where birches

were sacred, and very white.


The white birches of my homeland,

I would recite in the barracks,

the would-be actress of thirteen,

pleased to bring the refugees to tears.


Our child straddled the big fork

steering with a crooked branch,

and went to Olympus to give gifts

to the gods - she was always Athena -

to Narnia to visit great Aslan.

Now, one by one, the trees die;

dark bare stumps still rise up

to the autumn sky


next to the richer dying of the maple.

No more that soft early green,

the wrinkled baby hands

of early leaves, the catkins -

spring's earrings overhead.


I see you've brought out

the electric saw,

but not used it yet,

reluctant as I am to part

with our happy theft

so well rewarded.



Inta Ezergaile


Inta's Poems