Bending Bay Tree

Photo © Peter Y. Chou— Bending Bay Tree
on Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
taken on October 30, 2013, 4:24 pm

Walking to Foothill College on
Middlefield Road in Palo Alto,
I pass many Bay Trees and Oaks
all standing straight and upright.

But one Bay Tree is bent— twisted
in the letter Y-shape, and I've never
stopped to ask why until now, since
Bay Trees bend toward creek water

and everything over here is dry.
So following its branches to
the street corner and to my
surprise— it's Keats Court!

Ah!— "Ode on a Grecian Urn"
where John Keats sings unheard
sweeter melodies beneath the trees
in forest branches & happy boughs.

Severn paints "Portrait of Keats,
Listening to a Nightingale on
Hampstead Heath" in a forest grove
with tall Y-shaped trees behind him.

Keats wrote to John Taylor in 1818—
"If poetry comes not as naturally
as the leaves to a tree,
it had better not come at all."

I quoted the above letter in
a "Tree Poem" 24 years ago
and the cycle returned today
like clockwork as a Bay Tree

bends toward Keats Court to honor
the poet who loves trees paying
homage to them in his verses
as I'm doing now full of joy.

    — Peter Y. Chou
        Mountain View, 10-30-2013

Bay Tree Bending to Keats Court

Joseph Severn, "Portrait of Keats
listening to a nightingale on Hampstead Heath"

Signpost: Keats Ct & Middlefield Rd