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The EVERGREEN’S LESSON
Each fall when the tall and slender evergreen
leans forward over the stream to speak,
the members of the choir listen from the other side.
Every year it is the same speech,
and while wishing it might be different
like children they are prepared to go to bed.
The Evergreen says,
“You have been a sparkling choir since spring.
Your singing has lifted the ponderous pine
and loosened the spruce.
The forest thanks you.
No one has complained.
And the stream too,
always the same and never the same
continues on its way
and makes no complaints.
We know that in all its babbling
there is some thanks as well.
I said as much last year
and many years before
but now I must say it once more.
Keep from your bed throughout
the coming suspended season
any dreams of envy
toward the evergreens
for staying awake while you sleep.
It cannot be helped.
We are each made our own way.
I remind you once more, imagine
what you would sound like
with needles restraining your leaves.
You will be bare for a while –
bare but not ruined.
When you wake again
sprouting new instruments
and soon singing
it will be with a range and rustle
the equal and more
of what you had this past season.
Go to bed now and rest well.
We who are awake will miss you,
watching and waiting in the snow
for another season of your lovely singing.”