Hey poor, old tree ... what do I see?
The drooping of your poor, old limbs,
Leafless, budless, almost lifeless,
Your shriveled branches thin as shims.
The sap seems drained from all your veins,
You're as a spectre, ghostly white
Much like a spook that frightens one,
To be avoided in the night.
How many years have you stood there,
A century ... or two ... or three?
Still standing in that same old spot,
You're like a frozen thing, old tree.
Your history's a mystery,
Which I wish could be disclosed,
But you can't talk and tell your tale,
So your past can't be exposed.
When you were young, your arms were strong,
They waved and swayed in the breeze,
But now your limbs are old and weak,
And no longer dressed with leaves.
How sad the years have taken such toll,
Leaving you with a stoop in your spine,
Now you're not tall enough in the sky
To entice even a child to climb.
But there was a time you urged small lads
To pull and tug on your boughs,
And if they made it up to your top,
I'll bet you were pleased and proud.
Did you welcome their childish pursuits?
Did you tempt them by rustling your leaves?
Did you let them hurl and swirl and twirl,
And pretend you were like a trapeze?
When some see you now, they feel pity,
For you are gnarled, crooked and drear,
Even, at best, some say you're grotesque,
And they wonder why you're still here.
A few view you with admiration,
While others look at you with distaste,
Not all are aware you're even there,
For too many go by you in haste.
Poor, old tree, you are a simile
To many old timers I know,
Who no longer thrive, yet are alive,
With hearts that are full, but beat slow.
A back that is bent has tales to tell,
About tempests weathered and won,
Can those scars still marked upon your bark
Tell stories of arrows and guns?
Love stories come from carved initials,
Made by clumsy hands with pocket knives,
Recorded on your trunk forever,
Sweet mementos of young lovers' lives.
Those thin, trembling limbs  you now display,
Took many long years to produce,
Now, of course, they don't work very well,
And have become of little use.
So poor, old tree ... what do I see?
I see the scenes of prior years,
You stir my thoughts, you feed my dreams,
And you let me smile through my tears.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright June 2010
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