Witnesses

I look to them, graveyard-aligned
in our sped view, forever left and right,
on the journey back from Otsuni;

anchored in the red earth, those groves,
set free from the interrupt of stones
by the cast of the rotivator’s throw.

I count, without enough numbers,
the great twisted variations of
olea europaea
, those fixed olive trees:

Once shadows over Christ’s agony,
witnesses to his betrayal in three,
there as the shade in Gethsemane,

that which the Dutch artist sought
in his own lunatic star-field view,
in the daub and press of other oils.

I am told that the drupes are cultivated
between their green and purple state,
added to, altered, to make them black.

I know the shape well – bulbous
beads, like the sweated blood,
(Luke), from the pores of Christ.

We arrived at the house, set in a grove,
the venerable trees continue their telling,
blown by the wind, of that old song of God.

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