The Tree of Life

There is a mighty, magic tree,
That holds the round earth and the sea
In its branches like a net:
Its immortal trunk is set
Broader than the tide of night
With its star-tipped billows bright:
Human thought doth on it grow,
Like the barren misletoe
On an old oak’s forehead-skin.
Ever while the planets spin
Their blue existence, that great plant
Shall nor bud nor blossom want;
Summer, winter, night and day,
It must still its harvest pay;
Ever while the night grows up
Along the wall of the wide sky,
And the thunder-bee sweeps by,
On its brown, wet wing, to dry
Every day-star’s crystal cup
Of its yellow summer:—still
At the foot of heaven’s hill,
With fruit and blossom flush and rife,
Stays that tree of Human Life.
   Let us mark yon newest bloom
Heaving through the leafy gloom;
Now a pinkish bud it grows
Scentless, bloomless; slow unclose
Its outer pages to the sun,
Opened, but not yet begun.
Its first leaf is infancy,
Pencilled pale and tenderly,
Smooth its cheek and mild its eye:
Now it swells, and curls its head,—
Little infancy is shed.
Broader childhood is the next—

* * *

[Kelsall, 1851]