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Against gray February skies

Note: The following poem was written by Sister Mary Catherine Keene in 1975

Bare trees rise

Pushing up from somewhere

Deep within the earth

Witnesses to death and life

To dormancy and birth

How bound we are to them!

Yes, do we know

How woven in one cloth we stand—

Those trees and we

Forming some life-bond

Mysteriously

Some voice from Genesis describes

The Knowledge Tree

Psalmist lean upon the cedar trees of Lebanon

Christ found Zacchaeus sitting in a sycamore

And too, He cursed the barren fig

Yet He said: I am the vine

You are the branches…

He died upon a tree

Much like the trees He wept beneath

In Gethsemane.

And we?

We rest ourselves in shady spots

Which trees provide

(All sorts of creatures come to them
And secret things inside!)

From trees we draw wood for fire and homes

We make machines for travel, convenience

And for war…

Some folk shape the wood for beauty’s sake

Others hollow out and happily make

An instrument to throb or sing

To answer still another need

Human spirits bring

Against gray February skies

Bare trees rise

Pushing up from somewhere

Deep within the earth

Witnesses to death and life

To dormancy and birth

How bound we are to them

How woven in one cloth

Those trees and we

Forming some life-bond

Mysteriously.

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Sister Mary Catherine Keene

Sister Mary Catherine is a native of Indianapolis. Currently, she ministers in residential services at the Motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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