The Singing Brook, the Shielding Leaves

A tree was growing from his mouth.
It twisted below his chin. Shot upward.
It left his face clear, peering forth myopically from roots and shoots and leaves.
The tree grew with every breath he took, expanding and contracting microscopically.
His tree had dark green leaves and red berries.
It was a holly tree, he was told.

He was, professionally, known as the Green Man.
He couldn’t talk, so they put him in with Bandillo, the Strongman.
Bandillo didn’t talk much, except to Bopo, the clown, and sometimes to Rose or to Brian.
The tree wasn’t very large, yet, but the berries got everywhere.
The Green Man had become very fastidious.
He was very good at sweeping and tidying.

He moved slowly, with the languid grace of a debutante, without moving his head.
No one knew what he had done before the tree had sprung from his mouth.
He knew — had he spoken it? — English and German.
He wrote out, over and over again, in beautifully varied handwriting, the first Orphic sonnet by Rilke.
Now in German, now in English, a thousand translations.
Oh, tall tree from the ear!
O hoher Baum im Ohr!
His tears watered the tree.