Tree of Life

Oils on 100 x 120 cm stretched canvas.

Not sure if this is still just a layer… But here is some Gabriela Mistral, trans. Ursula K. Le Guin.

“Hymn to the Tree”
For Don Jose Vasconcelos

Brother tree, who grappled
to the earth with your dark hooks,
yet lift up your bright brow
in an intense thirst for heaven:

give me patience with the dross,
the clay, that nourish me,
yet let the memory not sleep
of the blue land I come from.

Tree, you who let the traveler know
the sweetness of your presence
by your cool, ample shade
and the halo of your fragrance:

let my presence be revealed
in the fields of life,
the mild, warm influence
of a creature blest.

Tree ten times productive,
of rosy apples,
of wood to build with,
of sweet-scented breeze,
of sheltering foliage,

of emollient gums,
and miraculous resins,
full of laden branches
and melodious throats:

make me opulent in giving,
so I can be as fecund as you are,
make my heart and thought
as vast as the world!


A sheet of beaten gold
and on the golden level
two bodies like skeins of gold.

A body of glory listening
and a body of glory speaking
in the field where nothing speaks.

A breath that goes to a breath
and a face that quivers to it
in a field where nothing quivers.

To remember the sad time
when they both had Time
and lived under its yoke,

in the hour of the stroke of gold
when Time’s left on the doorstep
like a dog without an owner…

“Last Tree”
A Oscar Castro

This solitary margin
that has been mine from birth,
that goes from side
to burning side of me,

and runs from my forehead
down to my fevered feet:
this Island of my blood,
this scrap of monarchy,

I bring it in my arms,
I give it back, complete,
to tamarind or cedar,
the last of my trees.

For if in a second life
I don’t get what I was given
and miss the cool
and silence of this haven,

and pass through the world
running, flying, in a dream,
I don’t want doorsteps of houses
for my refuge, but a tree.

I’ll leave it all I had
of ashes and the sky,
and the wordy side of me,
and the silent side,

the loneliness I chose,
the loneliness I got,
and the tithe I paid the glory
of my sweet, tremendous God,

my game of give and take
with clouds and winds,
and my trembling knowledge
of hidden springs.

O my true Gabriel,
so near my trembling arms,
ever before me
with branch and balm!

Maybe it’s already born, and I
haven’t the grace to know it,
or it’s the nameless tree
I carried like a blind child.

Sometimes I feel the descent
of a fresh, soft air
and see rise around me
the round trunk—there—

But maybe my dream’s already
clothed in its leaves,
and I’m dead and don’t know it,
singing under my tree.