The Acorn

by Lisl Auf der Heide

Awesome the power of the acorn
dropped from great heights
into earth too dry to nourish.

Minuscule the rootlets
it sends out
when the first rains
seep between dead leaves.

How does it know
to push sharp shoots
through layers of soil

to consort with the sun
as buds unfold into green
to weather winds
and searing summers?

Can it count the circles
forming beneath
expanding bark

the branches

that shelter roots
deep and secure?

Stronger than time
the trunk of the oak
sprung from an acorn
small as a pearl.

Lisl Auf der Heide, born in Vienna, Austria, began writing poetry at age eight in her native German and continued writing, in English, after she emigrated to California at sixteen. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologies as well as in seven collections of poetry. She has lived in Santa Barbara since 1970.