Maidens were the spirits of the trees
In Ancient China;
Lifting flowery sleeves,
Out they stepped,
Redolent and adept,
To stroll along the pathways at their ease.
To stroll in conversation with the Priest —
The Taoist Gardener,
Who, by their stiff caprice,
Goddesses were in wood,
And sought the key to gaining their release.
He searched for years in mystical pursuit,
And gained the secret,
Learning to transmute
From twigs and swirls
The sight of giggling girls,
And painted toes emerging from a root.
Notice that when Ginkgoes are transplanted
To North America,
Their prayers are granted:
Still in treelike shapes,
And lend the streets their presence and enchantment.