The Veins of the Leaves, John Tustin

Charles Hood, Cabbage White on Steel Beam




I insinuate myself in the veins of the leaves
That grow plump and green in the sun that vibrates all around you.

You will still feel young and vital without me
Even as you age in the summer like the fruit that ripens beside the leaves.

I will rest in the clouds and look down upon you,
Gathering myself in the strength of the sea.

As you wither and darken with time and with age
The leaves will fall before you and become a carpet at your feet.

As the sky darkens and the days shorten to almost nothing
I will ride each flake of snow that falls to your collar and melts in your hair.

I will be the comfort beneath your feet and a crown upon your head
That infiltrates you, evaporates around you.

It will be time for you to say goodbye to everything that remains
And you will realize that even though you stopped loving me – I have remained.

John Tustin


Review by Marc Janssen

This poem urges you to think about it. There are two characters “I” and “you.” Over the course of the seven stanzas you gather information about who is talking and who is being talked to. Then once you think about it for a while you need to re-read it a few times to figure out what is going on. It is not confusing, rather it invites engagement. So really there might be four people, the writer, the reader and you and I.   



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