“Old Vine” by Hannah Singer, MD
by Kaarlo Sarkia | translated for the first time from Finnish to English by Kristiina Altman, MD
It always puts out leaves, it blooms and blossoms evermore. But too high are hanging grapes so fresh and full of juice:
I starve unbearably below its sweet produce.
My arms do not reach up to pick the fruit which branches bore.
When burning thirst is almost causing me to die,
When anguish is at worst, when in want I almost drown, The tree’s branches start so mercifully bowing down With sunrise-crimson fruit and leaves as blue as clear sky.
I dive in leafy shades the fruit to pick and pick and pick… As I know: just moments heaven’s gracious mercy stays, And when it leaves, again a heavy yoke on me lays!
The holy tree’s fruit one can’t reach by any human trick.
Upwards the branch now springs and pulls me into starry light. It’s too wondrous; its bright shine makes my temples spin.
And I fall down on ground, pain ripping gravely through my skin!Now thirst and craving plague me more than prior to the flight.
Kristiina Altman is an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins