Beneath the patina of oak,
The sap of ages weighs the worth
Of prayers and hopes, of rights and wrongs,
Without the curse of falling leaves.
The carver and the carved are found
United in this judge’s bench.
In every cut are questions marked:
Belief and doubt are scratched the same.
And where the rational preaches calm
The oak will stretch a hanging rope.
Its shadow falls on certainty:
The measured minds will lose their voice,
Beneath the words the oak spreads roots.
Behind the incantations: fear.
(poem inspired by various stories of M.R. James)