I stood on the shore of the lake and became a tree,
Gave up my heart for heartwood,
Gave up my nerves for needles,
Thrust my tangled veins into the wet sand,
And wove them into roots for a strong, tall tree
Like the ponderosas looming around me,
I abandoned thoughts and hurts,
Felt the gentle wavelets
Roll striated sands over my toes,
Over the arches of my feet,
Burying my ankles,
And I thought that I could stand there eternally
Until the waters overthrew me, buried me,
Like the drowned old pines that sometimes peer
From the dark waters like ill-remembered dreams,
And I sang rhymeless verses to myself
In the timeless nothingness between matter and mattering,
And the wide dark waters murmured before me

But I heard my father calling to me, distantly,
Calling me away to work,
To be a man–could I refuse?
Returning after to the shore,
I could not find where I had stood,
For I had thrust my roots in sand