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The family tree is dying
Everyone seems to be lying.
The tree is falling apart,
Everyone stops caring
My family grew from the same roots,
But our branches are growing so far apart.
Everyone is letting this demon into their heart.

I am planting my own tree.
This tree is going to grow in upmost care,
With no one to stare at us.
This tree
I will call my own
Will have strong roots,
Values and traditions.
While the old tree dies away with every bad omen.

This tree will grow with care.
It will grow with every emotion to spare.
I will feed my new tree with genuine love and understanding,
No more fighting.
No more judging.
Just pure patience
Our branches will grow intertwined.
The roots go deep into the ground,
Tons of people in so many places.
But the past is dying.
The traditions are dying like a malnourished plant.
I cannot believe how low this tree is coming.’
These roots which grew deep
Are soaking in poison
Feeding the poison through the tree,
And affecting the modern members.
Anger the only root.
These roots are becoming ghosts.
They watch us.
Our moves.
Our actions.
My family is not a family.
These roots which was so deep are killing us at the top
Our lives falling like leaves in the fall.
I know that I want to make a new tree.
But let it not be in vein.
I will learn from this old tree,
An old mentor,
Who lived a life most unsatisfied.
This new life starts at 18,
Carving my name at the beginning,
And as I live,
I will see the sapling grow,
While watching the other tree die.
Its pain is my gain,
Because I am learning the tricks of the trade,
I am learning how to escape the grips of anger,
The accuser who condemned my family for generations.
I will break free,
Grow with the tree.

My family’s branches are high, but alas far.
They are becoming separated, but I am young and watching.
They say that your life is set by your parents,
But I am not fueled by abusive fire,
I have grown past them,
I have thrown this virus of the tree away.
I am not going to fix their problems,
But I am growing my own success,
My future.
This sapling here,
The seed to be birthed,
It is going to grow,
So tall.
These notes I have scribbled,
Will lead to the happiness of my child,
The contentness of my wife,
The success of the spawn of us.
This tree is going to take a long time to grow.
It will learn from its mistakes as its predecessor did not.
It will be tall.
Making this broken tree nothing more than a shell,
This life,
This tree.
It is going to be free.
The sickening evil for blood with dry up,
The new tree will feed on smiles and happiness,
And out will sprout
The family,
I have always hoped for.

But this hope started somewhere.
This hope I birthed had pain.
It is a spawn of abuse.
Which seems to be the main cause for the old tree to dig so deep.
The anger of the leader spread somewhere,
And though not everyone is the cause,
We were ALL effected.
It took our values
Pushed them to the depths of hell
And left a chilling heat of anger and hate,
And though this is a debate,
Our family’s trajectory is going straight to hell,
Back to the man who gave us anger.
I cry today,
For those who were consumed by the darkness.
I feel sorry for those in the tree who did not reach for the sun,
Who did not fight for the family,
Who did not fight the urge to inflict pain.
A sad thing indeed,
But this is why I have the need
To start again.
This is why this life,
This current tree
Just isn’t working.
I’m tired of being fed hate.
It not too late.
My tree is going to grow strong.
It’s starting now,
It always has been.
I was superglued to someone else’s tree.
Taught their values.
Taught their insecurities and told they were my own.
But the forbidden word.
Is becoming my advocate.
I will reach for the sun.
I vow to encourage
I vow to take what is rightfully mine.
I vow to start anew.
Make this tree reach high.
This new tree will never know the “Mendoza” way of things.
This new tree
Started by a sad situation
And a definite resolution
Is becoming truth.
I may have grew up in the poison,
But more and more ii have found a cure,
Immune to anger
To hate
I have found that these roots of their tree,
Which has poisoned each twig,
Has one fault.
It never tried to reach for the sun.
So I,
I take this,
And I make this my own.
This house is not my home,
But things will bend
And I will break,
And start anew.
I will live to see my family flourish.
As its predecessor did not
for my family
Londis Carpenter Sep 2010
NOTE:  This is a short story; not a poem.  (author)

(Sometimes when you don’t know something can’t be done, you discover a way to do it.)

High at the top of a tree in Forest Park, Parker Squirrel lived in a nest that his mother had built from a hollowed out place inside the trunk of an old oak.   A large branch forked away from the main trunk and a hole in the bark conveniently served as a doorway to the outside world.  On one particular morning, Parker poked his head out from the doorway of his home and looked around very carefully at his surroundings.  It wasn’t the first time in his young life that he had peeked at the outside world from his mother’s nest, but this time he was more alert and cautious than he had ever been before.  Today he was orphaned and all alone.  Sometime in the dark of night, while he was hiding deep inside the nest, he was forced to watch in terror when a large owl came and took away his mother.  So today, feeling very timid and afraid, Parker made every effort to look in each direction before leaving his cozy home to explore and search for food.

Just ahead of him he saw that the rustic ranger station stood like a monument, to welcomed visitors to the state park.   On his left he could see the foothills of the purple mountain range.  He knew that these foothills and their woodlands were all part of the place called Forest Park.  Off to his right a dancing brook bubbled along the edge of a grassy meadow.  In its tall grasses he saw a white-tail doe playing with her newborn fawn. There seemed to be no danger in that direction, so Parker stretched his neck upward and watched as white, cotton-ball clouds floated across the azure blue sky.  Finally he looked down at the ground far below just in time to see a large toad quickly hop under the cover of some wild mushrooms.  Still, he sensed no danger.

Unfortunately, in order to see the forest behind him, it was necessary for Parker to leave his nest and climb around to the other side of his oak tree. And that was a problem for Parker, because the little squirrel was still much too timid to take such a chance.  Instead he stretched as far as he could to look around the wide tree trunk and into the woods.

Glancing back into the forest, Parker saw more tall oak trees with their strong, stately trunks.  He saw a scattering of white flowers that revealed the presence of dogwood trees.  A stand of sugar maples displayed their graceful branches and delicate leaves.  He also noticed some early spring flowers and wild mustard plants splashing bright yellow hues against the fresh green Indian grasses where a tiny meadow carpeted the outer edge of the forest floor.

There were no owls!

Even if they were hiding where he couldn’t see them, Parker would know they were there.  He would be able to smell their unmistakable odor.  To nearly all rodents, the owls have a peculiar stench that is putrid and foul.  And even a young squirrel like Parker would recognize it at once.

The young squirrel was fascinated by all he saw.  His furry skin tingled in the warm glow of the bright, noonday sunshine, almost making him forget the tragedy of the previous night.  Parker had only arrived into the world about six weeks ago, but in squirrel time that meant he would soon be approaching young adulthood.  He had always been cozy and comfortable, cradled in the nest his mother had built in the tall oak tree.  He had always enjoyed foraging with her for seeds and nuts.  The pantry was partly filled, even now, with acorns and hickory nuts, which emitted a woodsy aroma that reminded him of his mother.   He loved the wonderful world he saw from his perch and his heart was so happy that he began to chatter a new springtime song, which he seemed to hear playing all by itself inside his head.

Parker was so enthralled by all the new sights and smells filling his senses that he nearly outstretched the length of his body as he leaned outside the doorway to his mother’s cozy nest and suddenly he fell and tumbled onto the forest floor beneath him.  He landed with a horrible thud!  The little squirrel landed on his back into a clump of moss that grew beneath the tall oak, which only moments before had been his citadel.

  “Ouch!” chattered Parker as he recovered his breath.  The fall had knocked the wind from his lungs but as soon as he discovered he could breath again he checked himself all over to make sure he wasn’t seriously hurt.  Then he began to explore the forest floor.

The little squirrel was so excited, as he ran from one discovery to another, that he completely lost track of time.  Before he knew it, he was a long way from his mother’s tree and it was growing dark.   The little squirrel ran from tree to tree looking for his home and finally he stopped at a very tall oak.  Parker was certain that this was the same tree from which he had fallen, so as fast as he could scurry, he climbed up the trunk, searching among its branches for his mother’s nest.  When he failed to find his home in the trunk of the tree, Parker finally realized that he was lost. The young squirrel had exhausted all of his strength running through the woods.

Afraid and suddenly very lonely, Parker was also very sleepy and hungry.   Since he had no food and didn’t know what else he could do, Parker curled up into a ball at the crook of a branch and fell asleep.  Next morning Parker searched the tree again for his home.  To his surprise he stumbled upon a strange nest made up of branches and twigs of oak built close to the trunk of the tree.  This nest seemed substantial and well built.  The interior of the nesting cup was about eight inches across and five inches deep.  Although the nest looked crude from the outside, its bowl was delicately and warmly lined with a combination of moss, feathers and leaves. It was about seventy-five feet from the ground and two fledgling crows were sleeping inside.

An older squirrel might have killed the baby crows for food and driven off the adult birds when they returned, but Parker just climbed inside the nest, curled up beside the sleeping pair, and fell asleep to dream about where he would find his next meal.

Parker’s sleep was interrupted by the noise of the two young birds’ loud clamoring for food.  Their incessant calls were being tended to by the mamma crow, which had returned to the nest and was now busy stuffing their hungry mouths with an assortment of seeds and worms.  As strange as it seems and much to Parker’s surprise, the mother crow also began stuffing his mouth with food just the same as if she was feeding her own children.  Although he didn’t like the earthy taste of the worms, Parker was very hungry and he swallowed every bite.  He found that he was actually quite satisfied with the meal.

Parker soon learned that there had originally been six baby birds occupying the crow nest, but sadly four had recently been taken by the owls in nighttime raids.  Perhaps the loss of her own children was the reason the Mother Crow decided to adopt the baby squirrel and began feeding it along with her own young.  In nature there are many mysteries and not all of them have easy answers.  But, whatever her reason, one thing is very certain.  Parker Squirrel had been officially adopted into the Crow family and he now had a new mother and a new home, complete with a brother and a sister.

Parker’s new siblings were very close to his own age, which meant they soon would begin standing on the edge of the nest and even leave to nearby branches of the tree when they were being fed.  In the course of another week they would be leaving the nest and taking their initial flight while being watched, tended to, and protected by their adult parents.  So Parker had a great surprise awaiting him. He didn’t know it yet, but in just a few days Mamma Crow would be expecting him to learn to fly.  Of course, squirrels, by nature, are curious and quite acrobatic and no one had ever yet told Parker that he couldn’t fly like a bird.   So when the time came for Parker and his siblings to make their initial test flights, he spread his arms and began to flap them hard, as though they were wings, as he leaped from the nest.  Naturally the little squirrel tumbled down once again onto the forest floor with another thud.

Encouraged and nudged along by Mamma Crow and by taunts from his new brother and sister, Parker tried again and again to fly.  Each time he tried flapping his little arms like wings and each time he fell to earth with a thud.  Soon his whole body ached with painful bruises from his many falls.  But even more than the motivation and prodding from his new family, Parker wanted to fly.  There was something inside Parker that made him want to keep trying.  Parker really did want to fly.

Immediately after being adopted, Parker had begun foraging for his own food by pure instinct.  When he found acorns and seeds he brought them by mouthfuls back to the Crow family’s nest.  But now the urge to fly was almost as strong inside him as his urge to scour the forest floor for acorns and nuts.

At night Parker dreamed about flying.  As a younger squirrel he had often dreamed about being a “super squirrel” that flew around the forest, from tree to tree, doing good deeds and fighting off the evil owls with his super powers.  But the urge he felt now to soar through the air was different from the wishful thinking of a childhood fantasy.  Parker felt that he had to fly.  He just had to.

He thought about why he wanted to fly so badly.  It was more than the fact that his new brother and sister could fly.  There was some important reason deep inside him that made him yearn to soar from tree to tree.  As time passed Parker met other squirrels in the forest and he knew very well by now that he was not a crow, so why couldn’t he just be content to be like the other squirrels and forget all about this nonsense of flying after all.  He thought that perhaps it was because he remembered what the owls had done to his mother and what they had done to those siblings from his new family that were taken before he even had a chance to meet them.  Perhaps now, he thought, he was just afraid and only wanted to fly so he could escape the danger of the owls.  Maybe he was just a coward.

The next night when Parker went to sleep he dreamed again of flying.  But there was something different about this dream.  In his dream Parker was not flying like the crows fly.  He didn’t flap his arms up and down like wings.  Instead he just glided and soared with no effort at all.  In this dream he could actually feel the wind flowing over his body as he glided from one tree to another.  When the sun came out and awakened him from his sleep, Parker couldn’t wait to try again.  This time when he jumped from the nest he would not flap his arms because, after all, arms aren’t wings are they?

Before anyone could stop him, Parker leaped from the nest.  He began to fall straight down, but instead of flapping his arms up and down, he stretched his arms and legs out as far as they would reach.  Then, suddenly something happened.  Instead of dropping to the ground with a painful thud, Parker started gliding.  He didn’t fly far enough to reach another tree, but he was able to glide to another branch on his own tree.  After recovering from his own surprise, he looked back to the nest and he saw his mother and brother and sister all standing on the edge of the nest with looks of amazement on their faces.  They were all calling out to him to try it again. This time, having learned what to expect, Parker glided all the way to the next tree.  After a few more tries, Mother Crow was flying right beside him.

One day Mamma Crow told him to follow her.  “Come with me,” she said.  “I want to show you something.”   And he followed her, gliding from tree to tree.  She led him to a new place, deeper into the woods than he had ever been.  Soon they arrived at a place in the forest that almost seemed enchanted.  He was very surprised to see that were lots of other squirrels gliding from tree to tree just like Parker.

“This is your new home,” said Mother Crow to Parker.  “You’re not just an ordinary squirrel, you know, you are a flying squirrel.”

Then she told him, “From the day I first adopted you I knew that you were special. But you had to discover by yourself who you really are.  Here in this place you can be safe and make friends of your own kind.”  After saying goodbye and wishing him well, she waved at him and, looking back one more time, she flew away.

Well, that is how Parker learned to fly and how he discovered who he really was.  After that he continued to live a very happy life with his new friends.  The owls never seemed to trouble him in this part of the woods.  But he never, ever, forgot about Mother Crow and the family that adopted him. Even to this day, Parker often stops by the nest with a mouthful of acorns and nuts.
copyright by Londis Carpenter
Word count: 2414 Views: 29
anne p murray Apr 2013
Ever since I was a little girl, I yearned to be good at something,  anything, but I never quite knew how to go about it. I was never shown  by my parents that I was worthwhile.

There is something I need to share, I was alive and that is about all that there is to say about it. At  least that's something huh? I guess one could say with a weakened  voice, 'perhaps it was better than nothing'??

I sit here in  my writing room and I begin to write on this piece of paper (my computer is my paper now) something seems to be in need of writing, my thoughts  are circling within me. I want to write them all down.

I have felt this  way before, especially when I was in love and wanted to put things down on paper, so they wouldn't be lost and forgotten. There is this sort  of hush in the air and the stirrings feel like a gentle breeze coming over me. Like silent leaves falling. It seems strange that I notice  these things. It's as if they have special meaning for me.

Many afternoons I would sit wondering what would become of me. Would I turn  into an old woman in an old wrapper dress with curlers in my hair? But I tell myself this saying “The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave  only once”. I knew I had to give up the feelings that people didn’t like me. I must! I had to **** my fear of people and life, before it killed  me.

“The world is a world into which you were meant to be  in”. I heard this soft, quiet voice say to me. It was if I was speaking to an invisible child, very strange, yet beautiful.  I wanted to be soft; yet brave. To be a part of the sacred, beautiful things in life. To glisten with imagination. To see the beauty in a wild deer. To learn  of all the ancient ways of life. To learn the feelings of safety; of constant love, so I wouldn't feel like I’m in a boat on dark rivers without a paddle.  To be able to see the magic of animals carrying  their tiny young in a forest. scented land. Silent, yet so alive,  sitting in the underbrush looking out at the moon and stars.

There is a part of me that wanted to be wild too, like the animals protecting their young. Something so tender, yet untamed.  But really, I know that wild animals are also helpless too, just like I was as a child, like we all are as children; so dependent on others for love and care.

I  didn't want to remain like that scared child. I wanted to be a lady warrior, glistening with love and life shining down upon me. To be able to soar on wings of an eagle... brave and free. To be able to see the world as a beautiful place, but still know of its dangers without feeling  like I couldn't navigate in a storm.

These secrets I kept within myself; hanging onto them like a leaf that hangs in a tree. It  seems possible to me that perhaps all people at some time feel this way. You can tell by looking at some people that the world remains like a stone to them, with closed doors. I wanted to be an open door; a flower, not a stone. I was afraid it would not be like that for me. Perhaps  after my child self would grow old, then everything would harden and  become small; like my small, closed, childhood doors. Like it was back then.

So I'm thinking that perhaps I would have a hard time remembering  all these things. I wanted to write about them, so my life could still show and have moments of wonder.

I've been sitting here, listening to a  livening seed within me. A slightly, fermenting seed that still wants to be alive. Alive with its own movements and filled with wonder. Like an  orchard blooming, with each new blossom different and alive with energy.

Why should I feel this excitement as an older, grown woman now? Yet I can still be excited. My orchard wants to bloom soundlessly into a fruitful  tree. I don't want it all to go away from me. My light will someday be falling upon darkness and there will come a time when the doors will not open again. The sprouting of new blossoms will cease and the movements  and wonderous openings will be gone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WOW...when did this happen? I have now become that older women in the old, wrapper dress, so I try to write my thoughts down on slips of paper. Trying to  preserve this time for myself, so that afterwards when everything is  gone, I can remember who and what I really was, who I became.

There is a time in the spring of our lives when we shine. When we bear new, live fruit every day. There is also the time in our lives when autumn comes and our leaves begin to fall. But we can still be jewels in this  world.

So I say to myself;  "Lie in the sun with the child playing in your heart shining like a jewel. "Dream and sing, you pagan", I say to myself. Be wise in  your vitals. Stand still like a fat blossoming tree. Rise up like a stalk of corn throbbing, glistening green and yellow in the heat. Lie down like a mare, watching her baby colt's dancing feet as they learn how to stand up on their new, awkward legs. Sleep peacefully at night, knowing earth will bring new blossoms to its bounty. Walk delicately, yet strong as a wheat stalk, at its full time... bending towards the earth waiting for the farmer to reap his effort of plantings. Let your life swell upwards toward the sky so you become like a vase, an open vessel. Let the child within you rise like a dolphin swimming within your heart."

I look at myself in the mirror now. My legs a bit heavier. My face with a few more wrinkles then yesterday.My hips are fuller and my stomach is not as flat as it used to be. Some days I look older then tomorrow's sunset and some days I shine a little bit brighter, like today’s sunrise. It’s all part of nature’s plan. (sigh)

Children are playing outside and girls are walking with young men in the town square. All that doesn't seem so far away in my memories, yet those times are over for me. I am like that leaf hanging onto the tree, but  the seed is still alive within.

I walk a little slower now. I hate the feel of clothes against my skin, I want to leave them off, but the sight of me naked isn’t as pretty as it used to be. Yes, I have  ripened into an older age of life. It's hard to write it all down.  Sometimes denial is precious, but so unreal.

I once knew how it felt  to be a woman who was going to have a child, it's like how a tree feels  when its about to bear its fruit.

Now, my leaves hang from my tree, some of them have fallen, some are ready to fall. I put my hand upon my fallen leaves, their soft surface still surprises me. I can  still feel my tree of life swirling with sap. Sap that's still alive, with  rich roots still surging their power in me, wanting to break through  into another new life.

I walk the streets of my life alone  with the buds of my childhood left behind. And even though I walk alone  under the dark, umbrella of trees, there are many lights shining down on me. There is a hunger and a deep rebellion to march forward. My tree comes  from a far seed, still bending in the wind. My child to, comes from a  far seed blowing across the plains of time in a faraway place.

My inner child's still budding secretly from within, bidding me to carry on. Although, it is much quieter now. The movement of my tree I can still feel, still hear. Its delicate sounds of living moves gracefully within  myself…silently reaching upward.

My leaves twirl and swirl, delicately falling to the ground. My tree within it's roots in an gentle, swaying breeze, moving slowly it's stem of life. Like a stream, clear and strong flowing into the ground.

My trunk may be unseen to some, but it’s spiraling upwards in powerful energy, it's just moving up in a slower motion now. It’s stems twirling fragilely, until they fall once and for all, to be  reconnected with the Universe in all its splendor.

It's a far  more gentle breeze that speaks to my tree now, and as I sit here in the afternoon sun of my life, it seems a very, very strange thing that a tree might come to mean more to one than any of my husbands did. It seems a bit of an embarrassing to acknowledge... but it is so true.

Now as I sit here in my paler, pastel sun, my tree speaks to me with its words of comfort; with its many  soft, fallen leaves of wisdom...speaking to and through the heart of my soul. I finally learned to listen; to listen to the whisperings of my tree speaking to me from within.

How can I describe what I feel is being said by my tree? It speaks to me of love, sharing, kindness and wisdom; of acceptance and self-worth. None of my three husbands really spoke things of that nature to me. None of them spoke to my heart like my tree does.  

There is a much wiser woman in me now, I can hear her breathing. She speaks to me with kindness, acceptance and wisdom. She looks me thru' the mirrors of my soul and says. "I  hear you're going to have a new child, don't worry she will be the same color as the blossoms and the green leaves you once used to bear, she is still playing in the park. She is still alive, waiting to blossom once again.”  

I am writing this on a piece of paper now (like I said, my computer is my paper now). I have walked through my heart and spirit with substantially heavy boots. Large, heavy boots... with my tree bent over and with my leaves falling over into my soul. The light still shines in my eyes with misty expectations.

I sit in my room watching the trees from my window. They are standing,  yet bending willowy and gracefully with the breeze. Some of its leaves have curled,  but its trunk stands steady in the earth, like a stream flowing  smoothly, with a few rumbles of current here and there. So I say, let our trees blossom and spread their roots all over our hearts and souls, now and forever more.
Adam M Snow Aug 2015
Weeping by the Willow Tree
Written by Adam M. Snow

Who is she adorned in moonlight's veil -
This beauty with skin so fragile and pale?
I see her within a dream surreal,
Weeping by the willow tree.

Why does she weep such a woe,
Under starry midnight glow?
Upon the ground, her tears will flow;
Weeping by the willow tree.

How can I clearly see?
She weeps so tenderly...
Will I come to know; can it be,
She weeps for me by the willow tree?

What can cause her broken heart,
That led this dame to hurt?
Her hair does fairly touch the dirt;
Weeping by the willow tree.

A love that's lost should only be,
Misinterpreted reality,
For she will never be set free,
Weeping by the willow tree.

A heart's amiss if love is lost -
An empty bliss would be the cost.
A troubled dream, she would exhaust –
Weeping by the willow tree.

Every which way the wind would blow,
The rustling leaves, the willow'd throw.
Akin to willows weep, we know!
She weeps by the willow tree.

Is she an angel kneeling there?
What is her burden that she bear?
Certainly there is such grief in the air,
Away by the olden willow tree.

She veils her face with waterfall tears,
Misery held her all these years.
With tender hopes and fears,
She weeps by the willow tree.

The willow tree leaves would sway,
As she, on her knees would pray.
Every night and every day,
She weeps by the willow tree.

Alas! It is that she cries for me;
It twas I who caused her such sweet misery.
I hear her cries, her plea,
Underneath the willow tree.

I oft wonder what I did to she,
And wonder why she weeps for me.
In the night I hear the keys -
While she weeps under the willow tree.

Upon the morn, it occurred to me,
That maiden cries out of love for me.
And I simply walked past her plea,
Not knowing what causes her to weep,
Silently under the willow tree.

The succeeding night I went to see,
That beautiful girl who sits under the tree.
I saw her there, but in despair -
She hangs from two branches bare.
Swinging under the willow tree.

— The End —