The Moonflower Tree
As if in a dream,
I remembered last night,
The tree in a corner of my garden,
Studded with flowers of moonlight.
I would play beneath its shade,
Sheltered afternoons long from the sun,
Swing on the boughs, meeting them as they swayed,
Touch the flowers and run.
Into its trunk had been sunk
Scores of nails.
Many a time had I been warned
Not to touch those nails.
That tree, they said,
But a wise man
Had cast a spell on it,
Trapped the giant within,
Transfixed him with nails.
Should anyone pull out those pins,
It would release the genie within.
Which would devour every flower,
Which would sap every leaf.
Then this house, this home would burn
In a flash, into ashes it would turn.
Within the confines of this body and soul
Dwells such a moon-silvered tree
Its leaves I've always confided in
Each flower has been a friend to me.
Still, I dearly love
The shade of this, my tree.
And in its trunk until this day
Lives bewitched that same genie.
Even now I live in dread
If ever I should touch those nails
That ogre might escape
The flowers he may not devour
The leaves he may not want
But my home would surely burn!
Would it really into ashes turn?