It takes some courage to plant a tree...
A tree grows so slowly it seems, sometimes
Not to grow at all. An abiding faith
Is needed; that a rot won't reach
The roots, or frost or blight
Lay it low.
Yet the careful eye watches over seasons,
Not days. The bark swells with spring,
Bursting the sheath of the wood within,
Wounding the smooth skin
To leave it knobbly and scarred.
Branch tips race after leafy tips, stretching
To reach for the beckoning day. Slim roots
Run under the grassy ground, knotting
Where they leave the earth, drinking
Tree-dreams from the clinging clay.
Summer is slow and lazy, singing breezes
Stir the sighing green in the heat. Deadfalls prune
In sudden summer storms, keeping good wood strong. Yet
Strength is gathered there, hoarded for the coming
Fall. Leaves crisp gold and brown, and the tree dies
A small death. Be brave, have faith that the strength
Won from countless summer rains and sunshine
Will suffice, at length, to bring a resurrection.
Winter snows and ice see the tree mere dead wood, marked for
Destruction, yet somehow resisting the cold. Wise
Hearts still watch to see buds eked from the bark
Even as clawed winds shriek to chill the soul.
Yes, it takes some courage, but once planted, a tree
Measures a lifetime, bursting each year into bloom
Gifting the birds and squirrels with its shade
And scattering its seeds to the winds. Looking back
On its gnarled and twisted branches, its knotty roots,
Its heavy, hollow, trunk,
It is hard to remember that you were both once young.
Comes the night when strength fails, and winter storm
Succeeds in bringing down the tree, its stump remaining
To molder for some years, reminding all the saplings sprung
To sudden life in the sunny glade it left behind that
Here, there once stood a tree.