The Birch - Remi Graves


How does it know when to shed skin?

How to let go of a part of itself not dead

or damaged simply departing to make room for more of it.

How does it know when to drop the layer 

it has been growing on the deepest inside 

since the beginning of beginnings?


It’s newborn bark - the brown of fresh flesh - 

is old too, stemming from the core of its trunk.

New to the touch of air.

Unburied fibre that willingly let go

of its thinness is now asked to be thick,

despite its tenderness.

Asked to spread itself around itself

and protect everything from root to tip.


It seems they grow out of their skin and into themselves,

never crying over the layers spilt.

Rejoicing instead in the stretch marks left by the departure.

The birch will not be rushed.

Its ancient patience means bark might wait

140 summers to see the light.

And still it is unbothered by the time it takes.

Does not beg to know when light will kiss its outside.

And knowing that it will fall once being born

it cries nothing but beauty still.


How did we learn to make paper from trees

but miss entirely / how to be still and unrushed?

That we gain we lose.

That what is to come is in us from the start.

That we should dance

the peeling off of layers with grace.