THE TREES GATHER AROUND ORPHEUS
There was a hill
whose summit was an open level plain
with fresh green turf, a place which had no shade.
But when that poet, born of gods, sat down
and struck his lyre strings, the trees moved there.
Chaonian oak and groves of poplar
(Phaëton’s sisters), oak trees thick with leaves,
tender lime, beech, and virgin laurel trees
came to the place, with brittle hazels, too,
and ash trees (used for spears), clear firs, holm oaks
weighed down with acorns, delightful plane trees,
maples in all their various colours,
with willows, which grow by banks of rivers,
watery lotus trees, as well as boxwood,
which is always green, slender tamarisks,
twin-coloured myrtle trees, and viburnum
with its dark blue berries. You ivy trees
with twisting shoots came, too, and leafy vines,
ivy-covered elm trees and mountain ash,
spruce, wild strawberry loaded with red fruit,
and bending palms, the prize of victory.
You pines were there, your needles gathered up
into a bushy crest—a pleasing sight
to the mother of gods, for Cybele’s Attis
exchanged his human form for such a tree
and hardened in its trunk.
OVID ~THE METAMORPHOSES
At first it was shade for us on that awesomely bright hill. Unrelenting light.
Now twenty first century man yearns for light in that overgrown thicket and is drawn to its shafts, when, praise be, it appears through breaks in the canopy.