Friday, February 28, 2014

Old tree

Old Tree

Old tree in the woods, lovely dark and deep, what have you seen?
Clearly the oldest by far, two spans of my arms and, still, I can not encircle your girth.
How long have you been upon this earth?

Before the first white man came to settle, when the Indian lived and loved this land.
Surely, you grew - young then, proud and strong with branches like humanly arms,
stretched out in heavenly supplication.
Give thanks to the Great Spirit above for a moment in the sun.

Time is not kind to living things. It calls like the bell to all too soon.
Now, I see you old friend, as I pass by, tattered and broken, limbs fallen.
The scars of a rusted metal gate embedded in your bark,
A sign that some settler once homesteaded here,
Now long gone.

Today, your limbs home to owl and no one else.
Your trunk food to beetle, your burly bark once thick
Protected you from prairie fires, now discarded on the forest floor
The worn and ragged clothes of a beggar man
Tattooed upon your skin are the lines a woodpecker makes.
This is not a fitting end for such a majestic tree.

Remember what it was like to be young, if you can.
Did once an Indian and his pony pause beneath your limbs to gaze and wonder
at beauty of these woods so lovely dark and deep?
Perchance, it was a frosty morn and the tracks the deer left in the snow
Remind one of lips parted, whispering secrets
To those who do not sleep, to those who care to walk
These woods so lovely dark and deep
Have a secret - these woods belong to all

Time passes and a hundred springs and winters have come and gone.
A thousand deer have beaten down the path that I now walk along
Beside your once majestic figure

There are a hundred saplings at your feet. Do they stare up at you in wonder
Asking what lies beyond the bend, what lies beyond the forest in the clearing
Where the deer go to feed?

Are they curious, like me?

Or, do they merely wait their turn
Like you tree, like me to possess a moment in the sun?

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