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My Tree

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This is based on a true story of an incident in Ipoh, Malaysia


Beside the Kinta River still it stands
Colossus of the primal forest panoply
The tree a native of the fecund land
It’s limbs support the graceful arcing canopy
Each arm like a single tree of temperate terre
Forming structure a living city in the air

Great parasol once shaded tiger or Utan Orang
On its branches, like trunks of full grown English Elm
Live plethora of life, symbiosis copious and strong
Through time unmeasured, primary jungle realm
‘Til alluvial soil that nourished the roots an age
Disclosed treasure dark dust, bringing riches, turned history’s page

Then it witnessed the coming of men to a village then town
Final graceful colonial, blessed with streets neat and pretty
The tree’s neighbours now rich tin exchanges and banks abound
In the settlement that would be called Bougainvilea City
But with passing of time, came decline in the source of its wealth
As tin lost its lustre, the city it’s fresh bloom and health

Years on - destination Old Town fateful morning bright
‘Kedai Copi ’ drew tastebuds to flavour  rich and rare  *
We crossed over the bridge with the tree broad and clear in our sight
Then a column of smoke rising in the still morning air
Warned of something amiss that would threaten the life of our friend
Well loved arbour at risk now of tragic and untimely end

Looking down from the bridge we perceived the source of the threat
Some miscreant unknown had lit fire hard against the tree’s heel
With wish to remove for ‘improvement’ - an urban plan set?
To replace it with a soulless new edifice, concrete and steel
Or maybe with shear carelessness of it’s likely destruction
Either way destined for removal - inconvenient obstruction?

The solution was simple but needed immediate action
On river bank an old pipe was my tool to rescind
Fire that  threatened the bark that moves sap with life giving traction
To drag back the fire, smother flames yet devouring this skin
Within minutes the threat to an age of abundant green life 
Was reprieved for a time before facing more challenge and strife

Bearing scars, it still stands with the grace of a veteran patrician
Looking on little changed while all round life is set to alter
‘til it once more needs care of a passing part time physician
We call blessings that it and dependants go on without falter
So when I, time to time, pass that way, I muse as I see
With a warm self satisfied thought : ‘That’s my tree!’

* Kedai Copi = Coffee Shop (Malay - no Fs)

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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Date: 11/18/2018 1:03:00 PM
You have immortalized your friend with this poem that shows you have compassion for not only the tree but for the earth and wanting to save such things with worth. This is a wonderful poem Geoffrey! I commend your brave actions. xxoo ; )
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Date: 6/5/2018 7:34:00 PM
Dear Geoffrey, in one moment of heroism you saved and adopted a tree, the world needs more people like you. As you probably know, here in Australia we have bush fires that burn uncontrollably in summer, at least half of them lit by humans! Excellent work my friend, saving a tree and writing skills as well.
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Geoffrey Brewer
Date: 6/6/2018 4:57:00 AM
It was an easy act with a rich reward. It is a tragedy when trees are lost through venality or carelessness. Thanks for the encouragement as always, Dear Cecilia.