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Poetry Pleases: Elm Trees

...These swaying boughs seem to chatter and joke
Gesturing as if they were dignified ancient ladies
Enjoying a fashionable cocktail party...

Caroline Glyn conveys the courtly nature of elm trees.

There they stand, tall, umbrella-shaped,
Speckled with caverns, dark and grey.
Innumerable tree-arms roof them, fringe them
With fleshless fingers gloved in green fur.
But through the close-knit choppy leaves
A stricken, dead-white branch spreads
Like a naked blade itching to murder
The laughing, richly-dressed courtiers around it.
A puff of wind shakes them through and through;
The green sprays lean forward and sheathe the shining knife.
These swaying boughs seem to chatter and joke
Gesturing as if they were dignified ancient ladies
Enjoying a fashionable cocktail party;
As if grim Death had never been among them,
As if they had never changed from tranquil and quiet.

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