Trees parked on the Boulevard of City Lights
wait for the signal to change
from restless rapture to loving outrage
at the taking down of his words,
jelly beans of rhyme spilt out in a golden stream.
Trees with arms outstretched like St. Francis
drawing the birds in white chalk
across a charcoal sky,
statues of the world reaching out for poetry.

Trees put down your grievances,
clutch your engines tight at the intersection
of reality and sworn secrets,
detour around signs blocking oncoming truths—
In the vast parade of burning dreams,
can’t you see the slight-of-foot faltering
Charlie Chaplin man passing over the freeway
of masked absurdities, exposing
the cardboard cut-outs of new prophets
fishing illegally in the American Stream?

Trees, take our hands, as the leaves that fall,
crying in unison, “too soon, too soon,”
and remember the Ferlinghetti man
who drove through these very flames to reach us.

(Lawrence Ferlinghetti, March 24, 1919 – February 22, 2021)

Cassy Welburn is a Calgary poet and storyteller. Her book of poetry and story, Changelings, came out in 2015 with Frontenac House, and she has a CD, Cassiopeia: Tales From the Night Tree. She was the Canadian Children’s Book Society’s Storyteller on Tour for 2013.