The tired trees who've seen 200 years of days like these,
Hold their boughs of pointless leaves,
Waiting to be told to die by degrees,
By the autumn’s first cold night.
That first sharp chill will leave them powerless,
To resist this staged retreat to nakedness.
Stripped clean by Easterlies surging pitiless,
From the Steppes, a menace out of sight.
Not every tree’s the same. The strong and limber will linger,
Their wooden hearts accepting they'll return a season stronger,
Some, solitary and ashamed, will die sometime,
Between the frost and spring.
Only when the warming sun returns in May
Will we know which it is that passed away,
And even then we’ll watch them sway,
As if alive, until they fall.