Stories in Our Hearts

Oirbsen’s mother fed me pie,
apple from her orchards, ever-renewing,
her son’s shoulders too broad for her low-roofed cottage
“We are real,” she said, “though no tale
names us, and no tale
tells the truth, though they are all true.
Tales, like apples, grow from the ground they know.
Transplanted, they grow crooked, their fruit
less sweet, their true beauty
lost in translation. You see?”
I nodded, the sweet syrup melting on my tongue.
“We see what we see. But what we know
depends on the soil holding our roots.
My perfect fruit is an apple,
not a pomegranate. It makes a difference.”
She nodded and Oirbsen smiled.
“The heart of an apple understands – we
have stories in our hearts, fruit, leaf, and bud.”


Heart of Apple

Once, while riding in his chariot over the waves
the king of the sea said to me, “No matter
how you love the oak or dream of the world-
spanning yew, remember it is the apple in your
heart, with its blooms more sweet than roses,
fruit more staying than blackberries, and
sheltering branches enough for any fire.”
And I felt it then, this living being
in my heart, blooming and fruiting and growing
at the core of me. And I knew by the slant
of his eye and the way his hands curved the reins
that this was our kinship—he too had an apple
in his heart. I saw then it was as wild
as any yew, as strong as any oak, for what is wilder
or stronger or older than the sea?

One for the Yew…

One for the Yew whose poison heart
Can heal or swiftly kill
Two for the Oak whose acorned branch
Can catch the lightning still
Three for the Apple, gate of worlds,
Who sings with a voice of gold
Three to ring the silver well
And the flame that never grows cold.