They were burning pictures
In the villages. Animals,
Singers of complex songs,
Those who danced to create weather.
We could only watch. There were
No words, only a high
Humming sound generated by
An intricate beating of hearts.
It seemed a kind of symphony
Based in flames.
We thought it ridiculous. Pictures
Only. No other resources available.
“We have no more dreams.”
They said. “We have burned them
All. Nothing remains.”
“Why burn at all?” we inquired.
“For warmth, warmth only.”
“Have you no feeling to warm
“We were once trees.” they replied.
They shook their arms.
One could hear pictures in the wind.
“Why pictures only?
“We love you so much.
Everything but move as you
We do, to prove this love is true.”
And you do not care to listen.
Pictures to you are a kind of memory.
Our action will attract your attention
Even for a passage through the verb.
Come sing with us of places
Still to be made full, of glades and copses,
The willowing of light across a stream,
The kind of breath that causes pause
To see the farther view. And trees,
Like us, devoid of form but that primeval,
Our language born of flame and its attendants.”