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Bryan Thao Worra's "Zelkova Tree"

Tammy Ho Lai-ming:
"I vividly remember reading "Zelkova Tree", the very first poem we published in Cha, for the first time. It triggered my memory of reading Ovid’s Metamorphosis. In Book IX of that book, the nymph Dryope unknowingly plucks a flower of the lotus tree, which is actually another nymph (Lotis). Because of this crime, Dryope is turned into a black poplar. Before the transformation runs its full course, however, she has enough time to utter a message for her son, warning him to be cautious: ‘let him fear the pool, pluck no blossoms from the trees, and think all flowers are goddesses in disguise!’ (Ovid’s Metamorphosis Book IX, 380-81). Apart from pointing out the changeability of all life forms, one can also say Metamorphosis is highly eco-conscious. All these plants and animals are incarnations of others; you are imprudent to poke, pluck and part them, for you cannot be sure what they really are: they may be someone you know!"
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