Bare Trees

Beech buds over snow

Cold descends from
white sky.
No leaves. No birds. No breeze.
Bare trees.

A closer look. Buds.
These twigs were not shorn
of foliage
by cold and dark
but purposely shed
their leaves,
pushed each away
as buds came.

Ginkgo's flowing branches
bristle with matchsticks,
each rosy-tipped.

Dark mist on pear tree's
high crown:
upright scepters march in measure
along each branch.

Serviceberry's sparse knobs.

Copper-colored lance points of beech.

Candelabra of a horse chestnut.

Seed pods dangle in clusters
or scatter on snow.

Berries cling to hawthorn.

Buds. Tightly held against
cold wind, piled snow,
freezing rain,
under ice-casing.

Buds so tiny,
through the dark months,
the tipping away from sun.

Until their world tips back and
above their long shadows and
in a chill but earthy breeze,
each bud tip opens
to a leaf tip
so tiny.

Green mist in dark branches.

Each particle destined to emerge and expand
to a fat flapping green
sunshine-powered chlorophyll factory.

And become,
as Earth tips again,
old, ready
to die,
to be shed,
and fall