Synaptic Traces

by Lee Slonimsky

The solstice comes at 2 AM.  Clouds cloak
starlight so well the owls can barely see;
no moon.  Out in the winter woods you work
at accessing the mind of one oak tree,
in darkness dense enough to conjure up
an atmosphere of increased intimacy.

But silence still from bark, despite the hope
oak thoughts might stir at how astronomy
reflects perfection: how celestial
exactitude leads to our random life.

Yet branches will not whisper; bark is rough,
unspoken.  Woods: unutterably still.

At 2 AM a gust of wind; branch-creak;
as if the woods, at last, herald the hour.
You run your hands up and down a trunk; you seek
synaptic traces, signs of tree mind-power.