“There are three stages in a mountain pine beetle attack – green, red and grey.”
B.C. Ministry of Forests, Beetle Facts.
Will they puff into nothing these ghosts of pine
that haunt the forest now?
Scarab-like crystals, amulets,
decorate the bark after trees bleed sap.
And boughs wilt brown
then flare – orange! Fire’s
simulacrum, ineffectual blaze
before mountain-side spectres loom
ghastly, powdery grey.
But scattered across this view, white patches
glint from the tops of wasted pines
like kites taken by the wind
and caught; like beacons
but more solid than light,
revealed as each one lifts: bald eagles,
bright heads pull their bodies
as their fingered wings carry them
In various ancient mythologies, ‘sky-trees’ are the immortal counterparts to earth-bound, mortal trees.