There is only one place I long to be,
And I am not there:
Beneath the veil of a green-bark tree
And drenched in desert air,
I shall go again (let the fates beware)
And the sun and silence and I will swear
The troth which before we did not dare,
On golden blooms which the green-bark bare
In the place my heart is free.
This is, of course, a very personal poem. I have lived in many places in my life, but I have only truly wanted to call one of them ‘home’. This was the desert southwest. Last winter I found myself unexpectedly forced to leave my beloved Arizona desert and return to the Midwest. Hence, the poem.
The ‘green-bark’ tree of this poem is the Palo Verde of the southwestern deserts. I love especially the so-called Blue Palo Verde shown in the photographs. It carries a wealth of brilliant yellow bloom in spring, particularly after wet winters. It is drought-deciduous, that is, it drops its leaves when conditions become too dry in the intense desert summers. Photosynthesis is then carried on by the green branches. It is a beautiful answer to the needs of growth and survival in the dry country.
Can you see why I lost my heart?