Saturday 15 April 2023

The Sweetness of the Tree

by Nick Gisburne

She milks the tree for sticky sugar, black,
The currency her deities demand.
Today the trees are barren. Branches crack.
Their bark, discoloured, blisters in the hand.
The sweetness of the tree of tribute, lost,
Infuriates the gods. It shames their greed.
They doom the world to everlasting frost,
No matter how the wolves and witches plead.
Refusing to accept their final word,
She mixes dust and honey, ash and bone,
And seven other sugars, steamed and stirred,
Are sprinkled on the sacrificial stone.
    Delirious, addicted to the high,
    The gods, bewildered, don’t remember why.