I was a being of flesh and not of wood,
but that changed in a moment
when I Daphne fled from Apollo’s grasp.
I called to my father, the river god,
Help me, Father! Help me! No sooner
had the plea crossed my lips than
what had been foot became root
of laurel tree, fingers webbed into branches
leafing out to a startled Apollo.
When I Daphne, as fairest maiden, was lost
to him, the laurel became his own tree
whose leaves crowned athletes in games
dedicated to the amorous god whose sighs
and lamentations were hushed by the wind
that blew through the leaves of the laurel tree.