& take all else in the universe . . . "
from "Desire, a Sequence" (1977)
by Lee Perron, California Poet & Antiquarian Bookseller
coat in spring. and nothing in
winter because she wanted too much . . . "
by Vicky Williams, age 13
in Begin Sweet World: Poetry by Children (1976)
editing and photography by
"Darsa, the Great Tree, stared down into the valley, keeping an unending vigil over the entire world as her children knew it. The early-morning mist was beginning to lift, and Darsa shivered as a cool breeze slipped through her branches."
My nephew Daniel, who lives and writes in Maryland, has composed a charming parable about Darsa, the Great Tree, who is worshipped by the trusting villagers for miles around, despite her inability to affect the outcome of their lives for either better or worse. Subject to the Fates, as are they, Darsa lives on in this way, frustrated but tolerant for many generations, centuries, until the day she is visited by the little girl Min who impolores Darsa to return her mother from the dead. Certain that Darsa has the power to give and take life as she pleases, Min lashes out and kicks the Great Tree of the Valley in childish anger and despair:
"The place where Min had kicked her ached dully; Darsa suspected there was a gash in her bark now, but it would heal with time. But what was this other ache she was feeling, the one that seemed to have descended upon her entire being? It seemed to extend even to the tips of the few scraggly leaves still clinging to her branches from the previous autumn. She’d suffered many injuries in her lifetime, of course; there was hardly a spot on her bark that didn’t have a scar of some sort, and she’d even lost two limbs, one to a lightning bolt and one to a nasty case of wood rot. But none of those had pained her even half as much as this new ache. What had Min done to her?"
Though not a Deity, Darsa has been suddenly, unexpectedly humanized by Min: "Perhaps that was what came of being treated like a mother for so many generations; sooner or later, whether you wanted to or not, you started to feel like one." And, without even trying, the Great Tree sends Min away with hope, in the form of "one of Darsa’s seeds, a tiny winged thing."
Nestled between The Frederick Valley & The Middletown Valley