A lilting double simile here, each with a timeless simplicity. Let’s add them to the common stock and start to describe things as being ‘old as the world’, or ‘wise as the roots of trees’. Or you could shorten the last one to ‘wise as trees’, given our growing appreciation of their multiple qualities.
And yes, new-born babies do have an eternal gaze in their puckered up features.
‘The puckered-up face of the newly-born child, old as the world, wise as the roots of trees.’
See Kazantzakis for another evocation of tree wisdom.
Source: Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan, introduction by Anthony Burgess (London: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 83-84
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