I think I now know Why the birch will split the thin Layer of its skin again And again but rarely show The darker wood at its core. Although the bark peels Back, it won’t reveal Anything more Than another papery scroll Of white. Maybe the wind Believes the tree has sinned Against it by failing to hold The song of its travels. The streaks On this bark—brown and sparse— Are like a sort of Morse That can’t transcribe the peaks Of snow and races of rivers The gusts have swept across. But still the birch is the voice The wind speaks in when it shivers The flaps of bark like torn Sheet music. No matter How it claws at the tatters, The wind can’t change the score.