The Tree Experiment

Is silence irrelevant to a tree?
It grows in birdsong or the absence of.
We can’t help but feel it probably enjoys
a gentle storm that soaks its corrugated skin
and feeds its gnarly roots. The talls ones seem to appreciate
rain quietly, like old men. We’re hopelessly anthropomorphic
in our thought. What if a tree scientist, a dendrologist,
grew a tree in absolute silence, placed it
in an anechoic chamber with only a skylight
on permanent mute or artificial light? What if a tree
was sentenced to live like that? It somehow hurts
to think about it. But, you said, that poor tree
would still have the sound (sound is feel) of itself,
the growing, dying. Wait. How would they water it
without any sound? That would be otherness, you said.
Microtubules, I explained. Oh, this poem is sick,
you said.  I know. This is really about terrifying ourselves,
I admitted. I hate to want to think of the tree,
but I do. I said. Like so many other things.
I think that’s the divine, she said. It intrudes,
and it has a sound, no matter what.