>Flame Maple


When I drive down our road, I can see the the varied green of the woods now has distinct definitions of color as the leaves of individual trees begin to change. There are no golds or rusts yet, but various greens are now tinged with yellow and pink and brown.

Many leaves of the maple in our front yard are tipped with scarlet. It’s almost as if someone spraypainted one side and the top of it with red paint.

This is a beautiful tree, bred for its showy fall color and aptly named “Flame Maple.” The leaves change; and if we’re blessed, they hang on the tree for a few days. Sometimes the wind looses their fragile hold almost as soon as the color changes. Here’s a picture from a couple of years ago of it at its peak:

Many years ago, it inspired me to write this poem:

Flame Maple

Bare winter branches float against
a sullen sky in bitter world;
the shadowed, ashen haze recalls
an ancient promise from
a smoldering fire-pot.

The springtime tree is kindled by
a blaze of bursting scarlet buds,
while blood-red petals bless the ground.
It seems a bush ablaze
with unconsuming fire.

Its summer green conceals bright fire
within a pillared cloud of leaves
providing wanderers with peace
and rest that’s only found
in providential shade.

The autumn sun that melts first frost
glows red within translucent leaves,
transformed with heaven’s instant fire,
like blazing answer to
a righteous prophet’s prayer.

A fresh, new gale has fully come
fulfilling promises of old,
with rushing of its mighty wind;
it whirls the flaming leaves
like pentecostal tongues.

© Glenda Mathes


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