An old board and a rope had made me a swing,
Sitting there when I was around the age of nine,
I curiously looked up to see the first sign of spring,
Where a robin was building a nest of twigs entwined.
Summer's heat burned my shoulders, so I sought shade,
I climbed up into your strong arms at the age of fourteen,
Along with a book, I relaxed in a solitude no one could invade,
I found myself lost within the pages and the leaves of green.
On a lazy, autumn afternoon, at the age of twenty-three,
I raked the dead leaves that buried my feet into a pile,
Through the orange limbs my black cat peered down at me,
Then leapt from the tree to play among the leaves for awhile.
Now, as I am rapidly approaching the age of thirty-one,
Branches are encased in ice, as winter continues to unfold,
From my window, I see the cardinals and the disappearing sun,
Reminding me that life still survives in the bitter cold.
March, 7th, 2014
Gail Angel Doyle's contest - "Memories On Branches"
To hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature,
embracing truth as only reflection can hold.
While our mind concocts fastidious pleasure,
in search of mottled excuses bent to unfold.
Some threaten openly, words of censure,
hurled against the family tree displayed therein.
Yet which innocent, casts with stoic composure,
a stone of malicious word for the game to begin.
While the tree of life muddles fate in quiet solitude.
Its restless soul begging for optimistic pleasure,
It thinks its time before the mirror, but an interlude,
when in fact, the angel Gabriel takes his measure.
Only the tree of knowledge, cannot be maligned.
Within the face of it, read this significant truth.
From a reflection, the soul of man, you will not find,
only the sweet, sweet face, of innocence of youth.
© Apr 17 2011 Charles Henderson
for Constance "the tree" contest
a family tree, tree of life, tree of knowledge
Sitting alone in the light of the moon
Twirling my glass of red wine
I retreated back into my cocoon
But still felt a chill up my spine
Something flew by in front of the moon
With a silhouette of a wide wing span
Its feathers flapped slow as it sang a tune
Its wings spread out in a fan
Then off he went out into the night
A raptor soaring in flight
The environment alive in the moonlight
Was an awesome yet fearful sight
The quiet stillness of the midnight air
Was a mystically charged atmosphere
With all my senses alive and aware
I wondered what next would appear
The skeletal branches of a tree
Looked grim in the luminous glow
A leaf came loose and floated free
To the leaf carpeted lawn below
I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep
And dreamed of a forest of trees
And beyond the entrance further in deep
The temperature dropped thirty degrees
I snapped awake then in a flash
With a feeling of foreboding
And didn't really want to rehash
The message too obscure for decoding
I awoke to see in front of me
The same old leaf shedding tree
I thought I heard it speak to me
But honestly, how could that be?
I noticed the tree appeared forlorn
My thoughts were definitely wild
For it was only a honey locust thorn
What some people often reviled
I turned in for the evening after that
Then heard a light tapping on the pane
I saw it wasn't my Maine Coon cat
That’s when I went totally insane
A limb of that tree pointed towards me
Like a finger of a human hand
No more wine but Sleepy time tea
For me, I'm sure you understand
September 20, 2012
The rugged bark of an old tree
with imperfection due to its cracks
is a wondrous thing of beauty
and it's the imperfection that attracts
We know that a star-shaped flower
does not make a perfect star
Yet it has a certain loveliness
that induces a sense of wonder
A hand-crafted ceramic bowl
because of its asymmetry
is a wonderful artefact
that is valued very highly
An old-time cobblestone street
has a unique charm and quaintness
due to its imprecise pattern
that gives it its loveliness
Perfection is not easy to attain
and even more difficult to sustain
Beauty lies in Imperfection
and they are a natural combination
She prowls the night
with clenched jaw and pride,
nothing able to smite
her remorseless stride.
The ominous reflection of moon
shines forth from devouring eyes
of a nocturnal beauty spun on the loom
of the Creator's bid and sighs.
Grace moves her every limb
and she precedes an enraged scream
caused by ruins of a forest now grim
and held alive by all but one stream.
Her claws prophesy of vengeance
though her heart yearns for reconciliation.
Yet now there would be no leniency
for a soul's annihilation.
Now on journeys through lush valleys and ashes
she will embark
until all that remains after furious thrashes
will be the tigress' mark.
'Tis that time again to bedeck the tree with decorations!
Untangling the string of lights is one of my annual frustrations!
Naughty words are said but when all is said and done, you'll,
Happily declare that sans a Christmas tree it wouldn't be a Yule!
Placed No. 9 in Kim Merryman's "Here We Go A Caroling" Contest - January 2013
None of us could swim, from the river we were banned
Not allowed near the water without an adult holding a hand
When the adults were busy we went to play
Of course to the river our thoughts oft did stray.
A tin bath we found much to our delight
It would make a good boat so try it we might.
We were not allowed swimsuits as none of us could swim
So it was down to our birthday suits then we jumped in.
We took it in turns to sail in the bath
We didn’t think then of our parent’s fears or wrath
My brother decided a new game to play
Who could capsize the bath best - and still get away?
What fun playing in the hours of illicit gaming.
Capsizing and spitting out water with no complaining.
All went well until I tipped the bath near the drinking tree root
They sucked up and grabbed the bath for a hoot.
I turned the bath over and fell from inside
The tree roots clawed at me from the surface trying to hide
The fingers of the tree reached for me, holding and pinning me tight
The air from my lungs all gone - I never thought I would see the light.
A gasp as air rushed in, I could breath, I could see
And there were my friends and siblings all clapping at me
I had put on a good "act" of drowning they said
I had not the heart to tell them I thought I was dead.
We rubbed ourselves down with our clothes and dressed quick
All crossing our hearts, we would never tell our trick
I remember so well the dark grasping water back then
I learnt to swim quick before I went there again.
You shelter me from the Autumn sunlight
You’re a mighty oak of tranquility
Peacefulness expounds from your colored leaves
The feel of Autumn is seen tenderly
Through this awesome oak I hold my head high
Where the wind blows your leaves move on along
Supremacy runs through its hardened veins
Where the wind blows nothing seems to be wrong
Within the air are red and orange leaves
Enhanced colors bring pleasurable days
The sky is in a mauve great expression
Lending right to the breeze a lovely haze
The air moves across the oak tree swaying
Seeming to just play with the sky above
This breeze enlightens from where the wind blows
The wind gives the tree an almighty shove
In bewilderment I watch the leaves move
Right along across the yard before me
They tumble on top of one another
It is where the wind blows that makes me free
Contest: Where The Wind Blows
Sponsor: Gail Angel Doyle
The tree stood stark and lonely,
All naked in the cold.
Her branches bare, her lovely leaves,
The breath of Winter stole.
In spite of all she stood yet proud,
Her branches raised to Heaven,
A silent prayer in her heart,
For Winter's sleep to lessen,
The pain she felt amid the cold,
The biting wind so cruel,
And please let not some human come,
And use her wood for fuel.
Then the winter queen looked down,
On Tree with sympathy,
And gave to her a lovely gown,
Of snow in symmetry.
Now the tree stands all adorned,
In glowing winter grandeur,
And all who see her stand in awe,
Of Tree in Winter's splendor.
Thanks to Phyllis Babcock for her poem "TREE" which inspired this one.
Subtle comes the mourning
In light laced with night
Like concentric circles forming
In the Forrest's biography of life
For children grow in truth like trees
It's lesson is wisdom's offering
Spiral layer of night and day
Concealed an annual weathering
In heartwood forest you were raised
By its protection you survived
Though it is dead this central wood
At your core does it reside
Tiny saplings like newborn cries
Sunlight tapping your tender leaves
Tears turned sugar transformed you thrive
For the sweet lifeblood you need
When something dies it's natural
Of sorrow to be prone
I'll follow the path of your tears your anchor
Through the storm I'll not leave you alone
For I am your taproot in rocky soil
I'll hold you secure as you grow
Take your tears and turn them sugar
Photosynthesis of life to bestow
Your Daddy was your heartwood
I know you mourn at his stone
Though Mommies leaves dawn new colors
I'll teach you to grow your own
For when he died your sapwood
With tears like resin filled
For from his bedded seed you came
A new tree with heartwood instilled
Under my branches my son you are planted
And Daddy's new home is our sky
Together we will shade you and light your way
Stretching my roots to hold yours while you cry
Someday when life's rings they gather
Hidden under your fortress of bark
You'll know the storms I too have weathered
In this silent breaking of my heart