That you could whisper through unseen webs
and care for the earth with a mother’s love—
I didn’t know, I just didn’t know.
That you could harbor so much in your cells,
sequestering carbon that threatens the world—
I didn’t understand, I didn’t know.
That you could give even more than your heart,
as if food and firewood weren’t enough—
I was plain ignorant, shamefully so.
That you could shade the ground that I walk,
and under your branches you shelter my soul—
I thought I knew. But what do I know?
That when death comes, you surrender the carbon?
It’s not enough to say I didn’t know.
I must atone for it, rapidly so.