Karin Molde – Ghazal of the Tree of Life

Molde LE P&W 5 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Five Nov-Dec 2023.

Ghazal of the Tree of Life, poems by Karin Molde

Ghazal of the Tree of Life

We are romantic travelers, resting in the shade of the baobab tree,
fantasists singing their accolade of the baobab tree.

Boots camouflage in savannah dust. Lemayan, the blessed one,
shields our camp. We sleep, unafraid under the baobab tree.

My lover puts the gauze of the milky way around my shoulders.
The moon’s hooked on a branch, a blade in the baobab tree.

Dry branches don’t sigh under the weight of home.
Sociable weavers serenade in the baobab tree.

The rainy season’s song is muted; dust swallows sound.
You count the cow’s ribs as they dehydrate under the baobab tree.

The healer mixes roots and leaves, fruit pulp and seeds.
Village elders drink essence to rehydrate under the baobab tree.

The baby splashes in the tub, water infused with bark.
Her giggle a flowery cascade of the baobab tree.

If the velvety skin of the fruit were ours, I’d break it, devour
our lusty escapade under the baobab tree.

Instead, what do I do? I run my hand on the scars of the trunk.
Memory ages by 1000 years. Is this the last decade of the baobab tree?

The sapling you plant has juicy leaves the elephant won’t chew.
The matriarch slowly parades around the baobab tree.

A Writer, Dramatist

for Martin McDonagh
an angry man, West of Ireland descent,
bog man, bogeyman, who pens
blood-dragged lines on the bark
of storm-bent trees and cuts deep
letters into grey branches of shrubs
that root in the wet and cling to rock,
who squeezes sap out of dead leaves;
an old-fashioned graffiti artist who tags
his origin with the screams of a cat
slung against a cottage wall, the wail
of the mother when her heart rips
at the return of the soldier, or his leaving,
the shriek of the woman shut into cabin,
or wooden box, the moan when she is
arrested by the darkness of the blind.
This is the ancient pain
where people morph into trees, or stone,
and rocks come alive in human form;
this is an agony inflicted, yet borne,
a horror that hatches out of love;
the broken egg shell placed on his open

I, Narcissus

squint my eyes, try
to slice the pond’s surface
but duckweed is a blind mirror.
I am not what you
have turned me into, not
enthralled by my own face.
I am vagrant, jilted loner
forever searching, and lost
in forests, in groves.
I lock into wolves’ eyes,
glacial-green, and dip
into bog-dim eyes of deer
but they are different. They roam
in pack or herd, their bodies steam
in moon-cold winter nights
when I press mine to Earth,
and seek her reflection
on every watery surface.

© Karen Molde

Karin Molde is a language teacher for high school students in Hamburg, Germany. Her ties with Ireland were fastened during her studies at the University of Ulster in Coleraine and University College Galway. Balancing a life with one foot in the Atlantic on the west coast of Ireland and one in the North Sea in Germany, she feels at home in both places, and when she walks along the beach or clambers over rocks, a strong wind pulling at her.  She has published in magazines, both print and online, like Skylight 47, Honest Ulsterman, The Wild Word, and in anthologies, e.g. Everything that can happen. (Emma Press, 2019), Identity (Fly on the Wall, 2020), Remembering Toni Morrison (Moonstone Press, 2020), New Beginnings (Renard Press, 2021), and Ukraine War Special Edition (Poetica Review, 2022), and Drawn to the Light (2023). Her chapbook “Self-Portrait with Sheep Skull” is out with Moonstone Press, 2023.

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