O Trees

O Trees

You have stood by me these two and a half years

and I still don’t know your names.

Nameless, you have steadfastly endured

beside me,  slender, tall, always reaching

you rise straight up from the earth

past the concrete, the glass, to the sky.

At night you brush the soft grey light

You even out the clouds.

While I sleep, you are the roost of angels

In the day you pull down the sun

You suck it out of the sky

You entice it to stay

You hold the light in your arms while I sleep.

My sister Christine Ruth Wiebe wrote this poem when she was living in Chicago, on Tuesday, February 12, 1991.

Ann Hostetler and my mother Katie Funk Wiebe are working on a special issue of the Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing focusing on Christine and Sylvia Bubalo, two writer/artists whose inspiring spiritual and artistic journeys deserve a wider audience.  Both struggled with chronic illness as well. Christine’s flavor was systemic lupus erythematosus.

I have been going through Christine’s letters and writings to find poems which she never showed to anyone, and this is one of them.   She also made the drawing, which was separate from the poem, but I joined them together here.  For the most part I have preserved her punctuation, but I am thinking that had she lived to publish this poem,  she probably would have added a few periods here and there.