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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Trees...unless we were there...

...unless we were there when you first took hold
on some dark night not far beneath the soil's surface
when whatever seed produced you split open
revealing all its truths the promise of root and crown
introduced you to the world we can't know
how long you lived how long you held birds
in your arms made space for tree houses
or sheltered lovers from spring rains
thrilled us with myriad greens in summer
and riots of red orange and gold in autumn
we can't know this fact irrelevant
as it is in most cases for why should we care
how old you are or how long it took you to get there
where you stood with others who made it
the struggle the merciless winds you bore the ice
that threatened to do you in several times
it only makes it all the harder to bear when they
finally do away with you leaving
just a stump all that's left of what you were
I remember a pine tree whose layers
from its heartwood out
numbered close to a hundred and how
I stood there bent over it knowing how long
it had taken it to get there and how quick its demise
painless unless you allow how fickle Time is
how quick to unravel all that she has pushed along
to the here and the now toward some culmination
that means nothing

I did not thrill to that
but then when you are gone
we know don't we
we count rings run our fingers lovingly and respectfully
across your damp remains your uncharacteristic flatness
where once stood lushness and character
and say things like "ah" and "oh"
and marvel that we can do it
forgetting all that you once did for us
all that you once were
even in death you do this much for us

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