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The tree off to the left
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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
clmathew Dec 2020
every season
of a tree
has a beauty all it's own

spring sprouts - blush of first love
summer lush greenery - the fullness of love
fall explosion of color - love burning itself out

but it is
this tree - winter tree - witch tree
that speaks to me most

your branches
spindly fingers
clearly reach
for your lover the sun

this tree - winter tree - witch tree

every cell
strains upward
wanting to be one
with the sun

this tree - winter tree - witch tree

raw skeleton exposed
loves first bloom long gone
longing for
your lover's touch

this tree - winter tree - witch tree

do you know
that your lover's skin
will set you both aflame
until her desire is quenched
and you are left
but ash and bone
do you care?

this tree - winter tree - witch tree

reaching ever upward
towards your love
wanting what you want
regardless the consequences
i try to walk each day. i often think about the trees and plants i see as i walk. today the trees, naked of their leaves, looked haunted and i couldn't get over how the branches reached for the sun. so much of the year we can't see that. the words "this tree - witch tree" kept going through my head as i walked. sometimes most of a poem will write itself as i walk, sometimes, just a phrase or idea, echoes in my mind.
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.
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.
Phil A May 2019
A tree, a tree!
He cried with glee,
Can I be up there as tall as that tree?

No! You can't! His father said, you will never be as high as that tree.

A tree, a tree the young man cried!
Can I get up as high as that tree?

"I doubt it." His young wife sighed. "You can never be as high as that tree.

A tree, a tree! Said the bearded man of 43. I want to be as high as that tree.
"No, thats impossible!" the man's neighbor yelled! "You can never be as high as that tree!"

A tree! A tree! The old man said with joy! As he peered down from his pilot's seat.
The tree was the lord of the neighbourhood
For it looked down over all,
Grown on a hill by a sparkling rill
It blossomed from Spring to Fall,
Its vibrant life flowed up from its roots
And broadcast through its leaves,
The warmth of a wise old autocrat
As it nestled into the eaves.

The tree had been there before the house
For a hundred years or so,
The builders wanted to cut it down
But the owner answered, ‘No!
There’s something magic about that tree
And I fear, if its timber falls,
The house you build will be cursed, you see,
I’ll be left with cold stone walls.’

The house changed hands as its owners died
But the tree grew on apace,
The other trees in the valley there
Were humbled by its grace,
Its topmost branch you could see for miles
It was marked on many a map,
They said, ‘Look out for the giant tree
On the hill by Calder’s Gap.’

The house was sold to a man called Binns,
A miserable kind of man,
They said he’d framed the dollar he’d earned
As a boy, while shifting sand,
But wealth had sharpened his temper, he
Was rude, to one and all,
The locals whispered behind their hands,
‘He’s headed for a fall.’

He looked from his bedroom window, and
He said, ‘I hate that tree!
It hides the view of the countryside,
The view that I paid to see.
You mark my words, it’s coming down,
It scrapes my window pane,
And wakes me up in the dead of night
It’ll go by the winter’s rain.’

The branches stroked on the window frame,
The frame was made of wood,
And passed to the tree its tale of shame
The tone of the owner’s mood,
The tree had shuddered, sent waves of pain
Abroad in the midnight air,
Like a cry of help, and its one refrain
Was, ‘Cut me, if you dare!’

The mile-a-minute responded first
Entwined and blocked the door,
Invaded the little garden shed
Where the axe lay on the floor,
It grew incredibly, overnight
As a shield around the tree,
To say, if a vine could really speak,
‘You’ll have to get through me!’

But Binns crawled out through a window,
Red of face and fighting mad,
‘What’s going on with this garden,
Where’s the gardener I had?
He went and got a machete, and
He slashed away at the vine,
Freed the door of its tendrils, and
The shed, in double time.

He found the axe on the earthen floor
And he took it to the tree,
‘You may have stood for a hundred years,
Now you’ll have to deal with me!’
He swung it once and the handle cracked
And splintered up his arm,
There wasn’t anything made of wood
That would do the old tree harm.

The splinter entered a major vein
And his blood dripped on the ground,
Apart from his scream and a sudden hush
There was just one other sound,
A violent cracking above his head
As a tree branch came away,
That hurtled down like a spear, and pinned
His heart to the ground that day.

The tree still towers above the rest
And sways in the slightest breeze,
It stands as a lord of the countryside
For it brought a man to his knees.
The house is ruined, a few stone walls
Still stand, and the curtains flap,
For nobody’s game to build again
Near the Tree by Calder’s Gap!

David Lewis Paget
Toni Seychelle Feb 2013
The ground beneath the stiff leaves is frozen. The cold, brisk air invades my lungs, I exhale, my breath visible. I step over fallen branches and tugged by thorny vines. A red tail hawk screeches overhead, this is a sign of good luck. There is no path, no trail to mark our way, just an old, flat railroad bed surrounded by walls of shale, blown up for the path of the train so long ago. The only ties to remind of the rail are the rotting, moss covered ties that once were a part of a bridge that would have carried the train over a small creek between two steep hills. I see a fox burrow, and it's escape hatch is one of the hollowed railroad ties. I want to be a fox... The trek down this hill is not easy, thorny blackberry bushes and fallen trees impede progress. At the bottom, the small, bubbly creek is frozen at the edges, traveling under rocks and continuing its ancient path. I look up the hill that I just descended, and wonder how the return will go. Keep moving. The next hill will be easier, there are no thorny tangles, just treacherous leaf litter that will give under my feet if I don't find the right footing. The trick is to dig my boots into the ground as if I'm on steps. These hills are steep. Finally at the top, I look back at this little spring valley, I'm not that high up, but what view. Here, there is a dilapidated tree stand, falling apart from years of neglect and weather. Surrounded by deep leaf litter, there is a patch of rich dark earth, a buck has marked his spot, his round pellets are nearby. The saplings catch my hair as I walk by, and at these moments I am thankful for this cold snap that took care of the ticks. A creepy feeling takes over me, so thankful for this snap. A few feet further, as I watch where I am walking, another tussled bit of earth and I notice some interesting ****. It's furry and light grey; I poke it with my stick and find a small skull when I turn a piece over. Owl. I continue my walk, I didn't come here to play with poo. The last time I took this hike was three years ago, on a similar frigid day. It was a lot easier to make it through the shale valleys. Last summer, a wind storm felled trees and took out power for two weeks. The evidence of that derecho is clear here in this untouched forest. I remembered a tree, which now is a fallen giant, that had lost it's bark. The bark had separated and laid around this tree like a woman's skirt around her ankles. Now the tree lies with it's bark. I pass another tree I recognize whose branch extends out but zig zags up and down, as if it had three elbows. The tree signifies my next move, to descend from the flat railroad bed, down to a creek that flows through the tunnel that would have carried the train. The creek is considerably larger than the last creek I could step across. Descending towards the creek leads me over moss covered rocks and limbs, still bearing snow. Outside the tunnel, the hill walls are large stones, covered in a thick layer of moss, some of which has started to fall off due to heaviness. There's a sort of ice shelf in the creek, it's three layers thick and can support my one hundred and twenty pounds. Laying across the creek is another derecho-felled tree. Some sort of critter has crawled on this, using it to avoid the water below and as a short cut up the hill. His claw marks are covering the the limb, a few are more clear, it looks as if the creature almost slipped off. His claw marks show a desperate cling. I walk through the tunnel, in the mud and water; the creek echoes inside. I look above. There are drainage holes lining the ceiling, one is clogged by a giant icicle. I imagine the train that used to ride over this tunnel, I pretend to hear it and feel the rumbling. The last time we were here, we found cow skeletons. We placed a few heads on branches and one over the tunnel. We stuck a jaw, complete with herbivore teeth, into the mossy wall and a hip bone on a sapling. The hip bone reminded us of Predator's mask in the movie. All these bones are turning green. When I was here before, there was a bone half submerged in the creek; I had taken a picture of it but today, it isn't here. I'm sure it was washed away. After our exploration of the previous visit, we turned back. We are cold again, can't stay in one place too long. I climb through the deep leaf litter and over the rocks back to the railroad bed. Passing all the things I've already seen and spotting things I missed. I find two more fox burrows. They utilized the shale rock and burrowed underneath the jutting formations. Hidden coming from the south, the gaping openings seem welcoming from the north. My friends, the spelunkers and climber, want to descend into the darkness but I remind them, it is an hour to sundown, our trek is hard enough with overcast daylight. Wisdom prevails. We pass a tree, we didn't notice before, that was struck by lightening. The cedar tree was split in two and fell down the shale wall. I see the evidence of the burn and a smoldered residue at the base. Nature has a cruel way of recycling. The downed tree still has snow on it and the path of a raccoon is visible, I like the paws of *****. Though the way is flat, the walls of shale tower above us, limiting routes. At one point I can't see through the fallen trees I have to pass through. I have to crab walk under, crawl over, duck again and find my way around the thorny collections of bare black berry bushes. Finally into a clearing, still surrounded by sharp shale, there is another wall covered in inches of thick, healthy moss. I place my hand, taking time to stroke the furry wall. My hand leaves an imprint. I wonder how long that will last.. Back down the steep hill up and up the thorny tangle. I know I'm on the right path up, I see the fox's hole through the railroad tie, and his entrance burrow up the hill. Going down was definitely easier. The summit is literally overgrown with thorns, there is no clear path through. It is, again, impossible to see through the tangle of limbs and saplings and more thorns. Somehow we make it through. We are close to breaking off this path. We know this by the remains of a cow skeleton that more than likely fell from the top of the shale cliff. Femurs and ribs and jaws abound. On the last trip, we placed a hip bone in the "Y" of a sapling. The young tree has claimed it, growing around it. We add a piece of jaw to the tree's ornamentation and move on. We climb down from the railroad bed to our car - parked on the side of the road with a white towel in the window so that no one suspects a group of people walking through private property, past faded NO TRESPASSING signs.

When I undress for bed later, there are many small scratches up and down my legs from those ****** thorny vines. I'm okay with that, it's better than searching for ticks in my head.
I couldn't write a 'poem' about this hike. It was too full of nature.
Paul Butters May 2020
Where life exists
You often find a carpet
Of grass or moss or whatever.
And in sacred groves and forests
You will find
The tree.

The tree: nature’s skyscraper,
Deep roots, hard bark and leafy canopy:
Linking the Underworld to The Heavens.
Looming beauty my words can but strive
To describe.

A tree can live for many an age,
Legends about it, even longer.
Since ancient times the tree has been revered.
The Norse People had Yggdrasil:
A cosmic tree linking many worlds.
Comprehend the Eastern Indian Kalpavriksha –
A jewel of a wish fulfilling tree.
The Peace Tree of the American Iroquois,
And many more.

In West Africa the Oubangui People plant a tree
Whenever a child is born.
The Bible tells of the Tree of Life
And the Tree of Knowledge
Growing there
In The Garden of Eden.

Bow to the Tree Goddess.
Bow to The Tree
Bow to its sturdy bough.

Our tree is home
To many a creature
Nymphs and Dryads too

A skyscraper indeed,
Full of life
Safe in its shade
Some behind walls
Of solid wood.

We lose ourselves
Just looking
At that tangle
Of twisting branches
Spiny twigs and clouds of leaves.
Will it stoop over
And pick us up
With its enormous

Or will it just keep playing us
A lullaby
With that whistling wind?  

Oh Tree,
You show such grandeur,
Goddess-like indeed:
Shaken by gales
Yet not disturbed
We trust.

Long Live The Tree –
Even giving us
The air we breathe.
Let your branches spread
While you reach ever upward –
A towering spire.

Paul Butters

© PB 26\5\2020. With due credit to Wikipedia.
I love trees.
Rachel Aug 2018
A lonely tree
Broken, afraid, abused.
It craved comfort
And it craved love.

There, there, lonely tree,
For I will be your sun.
Shining on the ground
Helping your leaves grow.

A scared tree you are,
Filled with broken branches.
I will help you grow new ones,
Stronger than the old.

A healing tree you are,
Starting to grow new buds.
Still so fragile,
Your branches are all new.

A happy tree you are,
You dance in my rays
And they only shine for you
Grow happy tree, grow.

And a growing tree you are.
My rays bounce off you
So everyone sees your beauty
And gets shade from my rays.

A loving tree you are
Giving me purpose as the sun,
Giving you life
Is what makes me shine.

A busy tree you are,
Housing new life,
Wishing just once
For a cloud all day.

A happy sun I am.
Even when the clouds
Block my rays from you,
I know you are under there.

A cloudy sun I am.
Some days I peak through
And glimpse my happy tree,
Forgetting about my rays.

A sad sun I am.
Happy tree is there,
But happy tree, is busy tree,
And forgets about the sun.

A rainy sun I am.
Let the rain fall for days,
Only to hope my busy tree
Is growing.
Hal Loyd Denton Nov 2011
A special Christmas tree
Back home in California we would go to Disney land for Christmas we stayed right across Katella the street that runs in front of
Disney we stayed at the Anaheim Hilton Anaheim in German means home and we purposely asked for the fourteenth floor I loved to
Set that high and look out those floor to ceiling windows and type away that and on stormy days hideaway all day just watching the
Beauty of the blustering wind and the effects it would have on the grounds far below a tiny taste of heaven there was another reason
For requesting this floor the hotel was so dark on that side and we would put a small Christmas tree in the window how it glowed
Others like ourselves some much father from home than us could see this little twinkling tree in the whole of this black glass wall gave
Those a sense of home and their tree back there where ever that was we bought cable car decorations from San Francisco other
Christmas items were on the table when the maids came in they had a nice showy display a comforting scene to enjoy, the in God we
trust coinage is the universal way of saying thanks Abe and Hamilton are always welcome and really say have a great Christmas.

I’m not turning morbid but if you come to our home there is no outward evidence of Christmas it just any other day except the
Sacred honoring of his birth its not our choice it’s the hand life dealt us but I have a tree more beautiful than any great conifer of this
Earthen wood can produce the lights are the main attraction although the tree holds its own this town this life has very dark spots
I relight them at his special time these lights glow with familiar smiles faces filled with joy they come back from a far away land they
glow so white no need for diminished power from this earth they are glory white but as gems they come in all colors and sizes like a
Conjurer magician with a toss of his hand this wondrous spray of color gently falls in all places on the tree and of course the very top
Holds the star that represents the star that stood over Bethlehem you will probably recognize some of these gems by name there on
My tree for different reasons her are a few of their stories and names and who they are to me Clint my grand pa for many reasons
But especially this one I was four I was in the old white School house and I heard the story how he used to walk two miles to school
In the snow they couldn’t afford proper shoes so he wrapped his feet in rags he did this but it didn’t continue I guess just to cold the
Reason I know it didn’t continue at sixteen he went with me to city hall to get my driver’s license now an old man I had my heart broke
As I watched him sign with an X my heart just broke again the tears flow anew he is the gems that are extra special I call them my tear
Washed ones my dad is included he couldn’t read or write but he read the bible though haltingly three times asking me what words
Were Gary M. was another we were in eighth grade he couldn’t read simple words like at I would rather someone beat me with a
Board than see others suffer or be laughed at he was smart as a whip on cars his future was with his hands I know I’m A godless animal
But Gary took care of the guys to big for me I took care of those my size except for these two gems I was helpless one a student the
Other teacher I watched them both cry openly from the treatment they received one asked supposedly by an educator and principal
To quit school he was too much of a drag on the other students helpless against him and a teacher I respected did respect the others
Who hurt jerry C. physically got to experience how it felt to kiss the side walk at high speed that’s where I put them and other acts of
Vengeance they had coming now the teacher he was a preacher and math teacher I set their daily watching these bozos misbehave
Taunt this man until he cried in front of the class and right there he gave up his teaching job if I had a gang behind me like Butch H.
There would have been a whole class bawling he resides on my special tree I can’t tell you where they belong. I guess this goes along
In that vein this will have to serve as the tree stand do you know you can smile to much in this world I worked up north on a line in this
Factory and this Mexican what’s with these guys well this one proved to be deadly he glared at me and asked why do you smile and
Laugh all the time I thought man what kind of sad life is he having a pretty sad one the day I was on another assignment this same guy
Stabbed a kid right in the heart killing him instantly and blindness settled on everyone standing there no one saw a thing I will repeat
I’m a coward that’s the outer pen you push through the inner gate and you will face a bull, this guy walks free to this day if I was there
He or I would be dead most likely me he waasn’t just a kid I had an advantage over the MP waving a forty five in my face he was tall a and thin as a pencil
You don’t poke a bull with a pencil and you don’t try to whip me with a forty five like I’m a piñata he would have eaten that forty five
He had the teeth for it his problem he hated gringos but he only had a fist full of hate I had a whole body and life full of hate I walk
Slow talk slow but in a fight they had this saying in the service the quick and the dead he would never have seen what hit him but I
Hated self not him it feels better setting her than in Leavenworth. Sorry went from the tree stand to showing my roots I don’t do to
Good in some respects but depending on how hard you’re backed up against a wall the harder the better I look.

It takes many sides of a person to make a life I will soften with this gem’s story this is my crippled lighted gem my Grandma Denton
I never seen her when she wasn’t in a wheel chair I fixed this by observing her one sister in particular she was the same size and beautiful I
Transposed grandma onto Rosy and truly experienced all that was missed by the prison that was her wheel chair I have a picture of a
Native American woman dancing the shawl dance I just substitute grandma in her place and she made up the rest she set there I stood
By her side she took me with words to places and wonderful travels we had the greatest times now she holds a special place on my
Tree others on this tree is found in fathers’ story, solo flight, life force, lost friend a blend of people and nature’s monarch Imposter a
nation defined and many others enjoy his birthday season.
We had a family meeting
And decided that our tree
Would no longer be a fake one
It would be as real, as real could be

I said that it's no problem
In fact I think it's fine
I truly miss the Christmas scent
Of wet and musty pine

I reminded them that last year
A new, lit up tree we'd bought
They passed off my weak arguement
With barely time or thought

So, with three weeks until Christmas
The search would now begin
For a tree, just full of needles
Not too bushy or too thin

I started with the want ads
Saw the lots with trees for sale
But, most were all on order
I begged, to no avail

My wife said, let's go cut one
In a woodlot, cut one down
I said we're in the heart of a big city
We have to go two hours out of town

I told them, I'm not going
Then my daughter, shed one tear
I don't know how she does it
But, she's got me wrapped....I fear

So we loaded up the family
Drove until we found the place
With so many others out there
There was no parking space

We parked out on the roadway
Half a mile from the gate
When we go there to start cutting
We were told....two hour wait

We'd brought an axe and hand saw
For when we found our perfect tree
Then, we were chainsaws
Did I have one...nope...not me

I had to take a short refresher
On how to use their little saw
And of course, this being Christmas
It cost me fifty more

Finally, we started out
There were trees, of every kind
then the fellow said, that this years
Were in the back....way down the line

He said that this year, beavers
Had flooded out the lower plains
And the trees down here were stunted
And would have to start out once again

The ones that we could cut down
Were back a mile up the hill
I wasn't sure then if it was him
Or my family I should ****

I protested, but my daughter
You know. with the one tear leaking eye
Looked at me and smiled
And I said, that I would try

We hiked up to the woodlot,
There were trees of pine and fir
And a spotty faced young helper
Who asked "What kind do you want, sir?"

Long needled, or a short one
Douglas fir, or knotty pine
The choice, well it was endless
And the choice, well was mine

The next thing that he asked me
How big should the tree be?
I looked a little flustered
And then he said to me

Once you cut it down own it
Measure it, and cut it down
Make sure you get the right one
It's a long way back to town

My wife said, 8 or 9 feet
The kids, no help at all
They were both playing on their cellphones
And making plans for later at the mall

We chose to get a pine one
Eight feet high and just as wide
I didn't know exactly
How I'd get it home and back inside

Two minutes, and I'd cut it
We had a tree, and just my luck
They'd started out without me
I had to drag it to the truck

The boy said, they'd wrap and measure
Down front where I came in
I looked down down at my killing
Not too fat, and not too thin

Two hours later I arrived
All wet and soaked and peeved
But deep down, I'd made them happy
And this made me relieved

Once he wrapped it tightly
I was shocked at the tree's price
He said, two hundred forty
In fact he said it twice

30 bucks a foot for pine
That would be dead in two weeks
I was so mad when I paid him
That I could barely speak

I walked back to the truck alone
I left the family with the tree
I thought two times of driving off truth....It was three

They tied it down upon the roof
Said the rope, was free this year
I almost blew my top right then
I saw my daughter....and her tear

We drove it home in silence
Stopped once on the way
I had to spend twenty more dollars
For a tree stand, at the Bay

I dragged it in the living room
Cut it open, let it spread
It, didn't really fluff out much
I think our tree was dead

It took almost an hour
It lay there, dropping needles on the floor
I thought , yep, this is Christmas
Who could ask for any more?

The kids were gone already
When I put it in the stand
I had wired it, into the wall
This was not the way I planned

A simple family Christmas
With a tree is a pain
I've got a fake one in a box
I'll not do this again

There's bare spots at the bottom
It's unbalanced near the top
There's sap all through the hallway
I've got more, just tell me stop

The tree is now all covered
With decorations and with lights
I water it twice daily
So, it doesn't burn up in the night

Next Christmas when they tell me
We want another tree
I'll tell them, go ahead and get one
But, do it with out me!!!!
My Christmas tree
Is not the same as yours
You see, my tree is in my mind
It can't be bought in stores

It's made up of a lot of things
I couldn't ever, ever buy
And I put them on my Christmas Tree
Using my minds eye

The star atop my Christmas tree
Is as bright as bright can be
My tree topper  is The North Star
It's the brightest one you see

For tinsel, I use icicles
That Mother Nature made
By hitting us with an ice storm
With devastation laid

For ornaments, I have my pick
There is so much there to choose
With a winter pallet so diverse
With whites, reds, greens and blues

For lights, I use the stars again
And street lights as I need
I let them shine and light my tree
It's the brightest tree indeed

In my mind my tree is ten feet tall
With gifts piled half as high
But, in reality, there is no tree
It's just in my minds eye

You see, I am a prisoner
Of machines and stuck in doors
I haven't had a Christmas Tree
Since Nineteen Eighty Four

But, still I choose to celebrate
Giving gifts and sending cards
But I lie here looking outward
So, going out,'s too hard

My tree, it is incredible
And the best part, I must say
Is that I can enjoy it all year round
And when I'm done, it goes away

No needles dropping on my floor
No checking strands of lights
My tree, it shows up when I want
And it's always out of sight

I wish you could walk in my mind
And share my tree with me
It's ten feet tall, and beautiful
And it's just for me to see.
Graff1980 Nov 2017
American Nightmares
The pale moon hangs, glowing in the blank sky, shining just enough light for the thick foliage and densely pack trees to be seen. Evening sounds silenced by the sloshing of rushing feet racing through the woods.  In the distance a beagle howls in frustration. Sniffing and wheezing as he tries to pick up a lost trail.
Deeper in the woods a lone figure races at a maddening pace, bumping into trees, scratching his flesh against their harsh bark; causing bleeding. The young man’s eyes water up from a mixture of sweat, pain, and fatigue. Fear permeates his entire being
A thin orange suit clings lazily to his sweaty bronze skin, almost mocking his emaciated frame, which is actually a couple sizes too small for the jumpsuit. The dark figure has been running for days. Hot on his heels, his pursuers persisted. He knows being caught would mean a far worse fate than what he escaped.
Another mile and his legs began to leaden. Each step becoming heavier than the last. The sharp sting of lactic acid burning his side. Breath becoming spasmodic. Eyes bulging, still he maintains a frantic pace.
Running full force until his left foot catches the edge of a dark brown rotten root rising from the earth. A cloud of dirt explodes from ground immersing him in a brown mist. Spittle and blood spew from the runner’s mouth as he coughs violently. His breath rushing away even as he tries to calm himself.
Crawling from the dirt he searches for some sort of purchase, finding none he rests his weary frame against the nearest oak. Then the waterworks really hit. The sound of moans escaped his busted and parched lips.
“I will make it home.” He repeats over and over, like a mantra.
His fingers feel the frame of the tree he is resting against. Hands begin falling and rising for some strange reason, until they settle at the base. There just inches away from his digits sits a patch of mushrooms. The forgotten pain of hunger returns, so without examining the fungus he plucks them up and swallows them whole. Then half crawling half stumbling he moves to the stream which lay a few yards from the tree.
Cupping his hands he fills his palm with water; then slurps it up, repeating the process again and again till he has drunk his fill. Next he splashes the cool liquid on his face, hair, pits, chest, and other portions of his body massaging the blood and dirt from his aching skin till he manages to cleanse the wounds all over his person. Closing his eyes, he finally succumbs to the exhaustion that has been ******* him.
A bulge of earth begins to rise pushing his limp frame away from the stream and pulls him back to the tree. Then branches and leaves coalesce around his body till he is safely hidden from plain sight.
He awakens; eyes dilated, and body shivering. While brushing away the brush he turns to the tree, stands up shakily, and then wipes away the rest of the leaves and dirt, not noticing the slowly growing dark spot on his orange jumpsuit.
Tears streaming he softly whispers “Hello tree my name is John.”

Chapter 1

Tree, sweet Tree, I beg of you tell me. Why does America hate me? I did everything I was told to do. I went to school. I stayed away from white women, never made eye contact with white men, became a teacher, and took care of my people.
What the hell was all that for? I am going to end up another dead black man in the backwoods of some southern hick state! I got these stupid leg irons weighing me down, and hells hounds are riding my trail.
Stupid ******* animals!
Filthy ******* *******!
What is the ******* point? Huh?
My dad was a good man too. He followed the unwritten rules of the white man. Never stole anything or hurt anyone, mostly. Do you know what they did to him Tree? Well do you?
They tied him to a post, sliced chunks of flesh from his hard muscular frame while burning him alive. They burnt him alive, Tree.
My father was a strong and righteous man, a man who loved his wife and child. My mother, who was barely half his weight and a good foot shorter, she had the palest skin of any black woman I have ever met. Her hair was the perfect shade of earth with eyes a couple tints darker. Her nose was tiny and lips thin as any white woman’s. I’d imagine she was as white as any ***** could get. She had a voice that soothed my darkest pains and fears. At night when I went to bed she would sing to me.
Oh my darling
Brown skin angel
Don’t be frightened
I’ll be right here
Hold you tight and
Watch you sleep
Guard you tonight
While you sleep
Oh my darling
I’ll be here
To keep your heart
Safe my sweet dear
Everything will be alright

I remember when I came home that day. I saw my dad clutching the tiny limp frame of my mother, sobbing furiously. Her body looked paler than usual. I had never seen tears fall from my father’s face. I don’t think he even saw me come in. I just stood in the doorway. I stood there and waited for him to say something. I wanted to cry but I was so scared that I just held my breath instead.
Our neighbor came and took me to their house. Back then I did not know what had happened. It took me over seven years to find out what happened to my mother. Do you know what happened Tree?
A handful of white men came to our house and ***** my mother.
Sometimes in my nightmares, that horrible scene plays out. I hear the sound of rapping at our door; the yells of angry men echoing through the house. I see the wooden door bulge as it begins to crack under their onslaught. Then I watch as men with no faces explode into our house, sweeping my mother off her feet, ripping the clothes off her body as she scream in horror, I would wake up in a state of horror and sorrow, weeping.
I am haunted even now. I cannot begin to imagine the pain my father felt, but I do know what happened next, because I snuck out of our neighbor’s house to comfort my father. I watched as he left our home with rage and violence in his heart. In one hand he held a knife; it seemed to be a foot long, half handle half cold hard sharpened steel; in the other hand he carried a gun. I followed him from a safe distances, heard him scream for the men that had attacked my mother.
When the sheriff came to calm him down, dad was startled and turned around accidently cutting Mr. Brinkley with the blade. The sheriff and his deputies arrested my father. I was certain that everything would be okay. The sheriff was a decent man. I heard him talking calmly to my father. He told my dad that he understood what was going on.
That night white men came for my father. They hollered for justice, screaming “bring out that ******* ******.”
The sheriff tried to reason with the mob. He told them “This is between me and my prisoner.”
He tried to stop the mob with force, but there were at least fifty men. Probably more if you counted the people that kept joining up with the mob. The mob broke down the prison door, took my father from his small stone cell, all the while taunting him.  “You’re gonna fry ******.” From a distance and hidden in shadows I watched.
I saw an old lady spit on him. I watched as children raced around my father, dancing in and out of the procession, and tossed stones, from the side of the road, at my father. The mob drug him down to the town square. Tied him up, and lit a fire beneath him. The whole time my father’s head was hung in defeat. I swear he knew what was coming. It seemed that In the face of that onslaught all emotion had faded from his face. I guess he didn’t want to give them the pleasure of seeing him squirm.
As the flames started to consume his flesh, I saw the sheriff go for his gun. He raised his pistol and aimed for my father’s head, but the men in the mob wrestled the gun from his hand. Meanwhile my father had given into the horror and pain. He began to howl like an animal as the flames danced across his flesh crackling and pooping. He screamed for some sort of mercy, crying out for someone to shoot him.
I raced from the shadows, stealing a gun from some old white man. Then I shot my father in the head. Most of the men in the mob looked on dumbstruck. That gave me enough time to get away so I hightailed it out of there. I never went back for anything. I spent the rest of that night in the woods praying that what I had done was the right thing.
In the weeks and months to come I slept very little. When I did manage to fall asleep my dreams would cycle from the flaming horrors of my father’s death to the ****** of my mother.
Still, I managed to make something out of myself despite those sick atrocities. By working hard I finished school and became a teacher. A couple years after I started teaching I was arrested. They took me to jail; brought me up on some ******* charges. Part of me was certain I would end up being lynched, so when I was sentenced to a chain gang, man I was relieved.
Had I known what was gonna happen I would have preferred being lynched, at least then I would have been dead. Instead they worked me **** near to death, starving, and beating me like a slave. My brown skin has brought me nothing but grief. So tell me Tree, why does America hate me?


“Tell me tree, why does America hate me?” John sputters.
A soft breeze caresses his skin.
“Why the hell am I talking to a tree?” He cries. “What is the point?”
The blood stain on John’s clothes still expanding, and his shivers become far worse.
“Tell me tree, what is the ******* point? America hates Negroes. I’m going to die out here. Say something.”
The air swirls around him, and a soft voice fills his head.
“Do you think you are alone in your suffering? Know now that you are not. My children suffer horrors too.  Listen carefully and I will tell you.
John turns to find the source; finding nothing he collapses, listening straining to hear the voice again.

Chapter 2

Dear John I am the spirit of the winds, mother to the natives. Do you think that yours is the only tongue to taste the bitter fruit of America’s wrath? My child let me tell you of the first people of America. Listen to the tragic tale of my children. Before the Europeans came many tribes roamed this land. They were human and as such had flaws of their own, but in many ways they were poetry in the form of flesh.
The men would hunt during the day. Anything they caught was considered a sacred gift. They would use all that they could from the body of the beast. They treated my mother’s brown dirt earth, flesh as sacred, and I loved them for that. Women held equal value and had equal say in their tribes. There were wars, of course, but mostly my children strived to live in harmony with the land.
Then white men came. My children welcomed them with open arms, helped them survive, and do you know how they were repaid that kindness? Once received and no longer needed, it was returned with treachery and violence. Bit by bit they pushed my children back. Pushing them off one parcel of land and then another, slaughtering tribes after tribe. Still my children survived.  When the white men could not **** all of my progeny, they came for the children. Some parents wept, some fought back, and some merely accepted it as inevitable.
I watched it all. I saw the men on horseback come for the children. The songs of lament tortured my heart. The tears of the children ripped at my very soul. I lashed out at the white men with all of nature’s fury, biting their flesh with my fierce and frosty winds. I sent the fiercest wind I had at my disposal. However, the children were still taken.
The children were dragged to schools far from their homes. They would cry out in their native tongues. I remember my sweet Rose. Yes, Rose was her name, John. She was as strong as the oak tree. Passion coursed through her veins faster and harder than the river’s water. She was born so tiny that the elder of the village was certain she would not make it. Yet, when she broke free of the womb coughing and sputtering, she cried with such a powerful voice that even I was taken aback. This tender babe had my attention. I swore I would watch over her.
The first seven summers of her life were spent in the loving care of her tribe. Her black hair grew almost down to her feet. Her eyes were brown, brimming with the unknown depth of her soul. She was unafraid, the pride of her father and joy of her mother, a creature to be cherished.
One fall morning as the orange sun was slowly ascending the soldiers came. Little Rose was wrenched her from her parents’ arms. Her father’s rage was stopped by a bullet that bled him dry. No one else would fight for this child, so I beat against the soldiers back. I struggled to wrench her from their arms and return her to her mother’s safe embrace.
The soldiers did not even recognize my fury. With that failure I watched Rose’s mother fell into despair. Her prayers of peace and love soon turned to prayers for vengeance and the return of her child. Many nights we wept together mourning the loss of father and daughter.
Rose’s mother could not join her child, so I tried to watch out for her. I followed the soldier to a tall white washed building that had been liberated from the southerners during the previous war. I heard the headmaster say “in order to save the child, we must **** the savage within.”
Day and night I raged against the solid white structure, slamming shutters and doors, pounding the roofs with torrential fury. Only stopping when I realized that the children were shuddering in fear of me.
At night Rose would sing the songs of her people. During the day she would stare in defiance as the teachers tried to make her speak the English tongue. She refused to yield, so they responded to her spirit with violence. The taste of soap saturated her mouth while the stinging welts marred her backside. Still my Rose remained strong. I was filled with pride. I had seen older children fall into silence and subservience.
Rose was a cut about the rest. Still, one can only fight for so long before the fire begins to wane. Each day some of her resilience would fade. I could not enter the building to comfort her, but when she was outside I would wrap her in my windy arms, cradling her spirit against mine. I would carry the whispered words of love her mother sent, and return Rose’s love to her mother. Had I known what was going on in that building maybe I could have blown harder, maybe I could have pelted the nuns and the preacher with sharp stones and hardwood.
As the glimmer of light faded even faster, I started catching the whispers of my children. Their dead bodies began to scar the sacred earth. One after another fell, faster and faster. I watch their flames die. What kind of wind was I that could not fly them away from harm?
One day while blustering away I caught the most horrid sight. I saw a sick man lay his hands on my Rose. She shivered in disgust as he groped her bare skin. He took such sick liberties. In my rage I waited and stewed, plotting and hoping he would come outside. My anger gave me more power than I had ever known. I flung him to and fro spinning him round and round, beating him down every time he tried to rise. I hurled stones and sticks at him. When I was spent, his face was dripping with blood, his lip busted and swollen. He ran like a coward.
Rose remained trapped in that house of horrors. More children died. Day after day Rose lost more of her language. Till one day she could not remember the songs of her people. I watched her sobbing while trying to recall the words as a nun slapped her in the face.
One night under the pale glow of moonlight Rose lit herself on fire. She became a burning flame to match her once radiant spirit. As she burned she screamed out for release. I tried to put out the flames with gusts of wind and heavy rain, but I was too late. Rose fell to ashes resting on the moist earth. Gathering what I could of her remains I sent her last words and ashes home to her tribe.
That night rang with lamentation of her people. Sobs of regret filled her mother’s body. As hard as tried I could not comfort Rose’s mother. She would not be consoled. On the coldest night of that year Rose’s mother walked from her abode, slipping off her clothes, she moved in silence. Every step adding to the numbness she longed
AJ Claus Oct 2013
If a tree falls in the forest
and someone is there to chop it down,
did it really fall at all?
And is a tree only a tree when its roots are deep in the ground?
What then, when the man cuts it down?
Does it still exist?
It is dead when its roots are shriveled up.
When we die, we no longer exist.
Or do we?
Are our roots still extended?
Our connections remaining while we are gone, though not for good?
Are our souls still around,
to strut around the town?
Wait, does a tree have a soul?
Or is it really gone, when it's gone?
When it turns into paper in a factory,
has the tree disappeared, destroyed?
Or is all that paper still the tree, torn up and annoyed?

So what happens when we're gone?
Are we cut up in a factory and packaged up
to be sent to stores all through the town?
They call us ***** donors.
Are we written on and doodled upon
like a worthless piece of paper?
People talk, they gossip, hurt us with words,
label us with their judgments,
make us feel worthless.
No one should feel worthless!
Even a tree.

But isn't a tree just a thing?
It isn't a person, nor an animal.
But it is alive,
moving, trying to strive,
for recognition, just like the rest of us.
It reaches its branches higher, higher,
only to be sliced apart and turned into a flyer.
If I was chopped down,
and just as I was working my hardest,
I'd be sad, I'd be mad, I'd be crushed inside and out.
I don't want to be like paper, used,
crumbled into a ball, abused,
if asked, it would be refused,
"Can I cut you down?"
Stop, stop, STOP!
A tree is never asked, "Is this okay?"
They're just cut down, there's no other way.
And we're the same, even today.
We cut down others, we go and say,
"You ******! You freak! No one likes you, go away!"

These words are ugly,
not like the people they're aimed at.
No one deserves to be made fun of,
to be hurt,
stepped on,
chopped down like a tree.
And those bullies will see.
It'll come back and then they will be,
cut down and hurt, just like a tree.
If a person is cut down,
and no one hears them cry,
do they still exist?
Do they still matter?
Of course they do,
though they feel like they don't.

Everyone matters, even when they don't think they do,
even at their lowest low,
when they won't know where they should go,
there's a place, a safe haven,
out there somewhere.
In the arms of friends, family, neighbors.
No one is ever truly alone.
And do you know what?
Neither is a tree.
When if falls, someone will be there
and someone will care.
Everyone and everything matters,
everyone and everything has a purpose.
Even you and me,
and even a measly tree.
It was 2: 00am
I found my self  in the woods
Everywhere is calm
But a voice was coming in one direction
So scary and deep
I walk towards the direction of the voice
I saw a lonely tree
It was a tree without leaves
I became even scared because the tree is dead
I asked my self, can a dead tree speak? As if a tree can speak in the first place
Fear took over me
Yet I kept walking
Going back was never an option
So I kept moving
No other tree was there
And the voice seems to be coming from that tree
As I walk close to the tree
The voice grows higher
It was night
It was dark
The tree was standing like a giant
Fear grip me
My legs starts shaking
But yet I can't go back
Yet I kept going closer to the tree

I looked back
I couldn't see anything
Can't even hear the birds singing as usual
Everywhere was quite
But the voice grow higher
Am cold yet am sweating heavily
But am ready to see it to the end
Don't know where the courage came from
I kept moving
The voice grows even higher
It was like a stormy wind
As I got close to the tree
The fear in me fades away
I was ready to face anything that comes out
Am ready to fight to die or to live
My courage grows

But as i got close to the tree
Everywhere became calm
The voice was gone
Suddenly the birds that has refuse to sing started singing
I became helpless when the voice was gone
I became scared again
I said to my self
I rather hear this voice than not
The fear in me come alive when I heard the voice no more
Fear grips me again when I heard the voices of the birds

Deep inside me
I was like a melted ice-cream
I couldn't walk anymore
I can't move my legs
I was stuck
My legs became heavy
I say to me
I prefer the voice from the tree
The voice that gave me courage
The voice that make my fear fade away
Poetic T Jul 2015
An urban legend of sorts they said, of a tree, of a
branch that took any weight given. it has nickname
It had a place in secluded nature where no one seen.

"The *** tree,


"Ye but you have to watch your step,


"Well lets just say its a well fertilized ground,
"The earth and plants feed well on the,

Not from one but the many, I heard the branch
Can take any weight, a gentlemen of plentiful weight
Tested the legend and got stuck **** naked
Not for a,


"Was he stuck, birthday suit and all,

His lady friend had jogged off with wallet and all,
Its on YouTube,
Called tree hugger nudist,

There is loads of dents little *** holes,
Some say its all the ***** *******,
So many hard ones poking dents,
indentations forever of ******* against this tree.

"I've been their done that,


"Never again,
"Were standing on this branch,
"What's that look for,

(Giggles under breathe)

"Getting into the moment,
"Thought sap,
"Tree sap,
"Was seeping in to my hair,

"Don't stop what happened stuck,
"Pants down skinny **** man up tree,
(giggles loudly)

"Dude I'm 6 foot 5inches,
It was sap of a different kind,

(Gags in mouth)

No Fudging way,

Yep that's not the worst,

"How the hell does some one seed a tree that high,

"It was like the tree was ******* itself,

"Old juice, sap, Klingon,
"What ever I throw up on her,
She bit down,
I, we feel three feet out the tree,

"So that's what the plaster cast is from,
"Is that why your walking funny,

Twenty nine stitches its like something
From a Frankenstein film,

Never again my friend a bed is where ill be from
Now on, she fell in a puddle of Jib juice triplets
She had all three different, DNA tests on all
Who visited the tree.
As a video recorded of all who entered,
Just not the naked bits seen.

"Nature can keep its *** tree,
   "I'll be lucky if mine works again,
"Mine isn't wood its a limp branch now,

"Dude you got ****** by wood,
"Bitten limp by teeth,
"Unlucky bro,
*"Rather you than me,
John F McCullagh Dec 2011
Oh Holiday Tree, Oh Holiday Tree
We named you inoffensively.
Your boughs have been de- Christianized
Rededicated to mankind
Oh Holiday Tree, Oh Holiday tree
takes all denominations

Oh Holiday Tree, Oh Holiday tree
Enjoyed by Jew and Pagan.
You twinkle with a million lights
like the Universe of Carl Sagan.
Oh Holiday Tree, Oh Holiday Tree
Takes all denominations.

Oh Holiday Tree, Oh Holiday Tree
No Creche beneath your branches
Atop your pine- No Star Divine
instead a golden dollar sign
Oh Holiday Tree, Oh Holiday Tree
takes all denominations
Tune of "O Tannenbaum" A parody of the PC movement to rename
the Christmas Tree. After that the Menorah will be reborn as a candelabra
Jenish Jan 2020
Long long ago in a lonely lovely hill
When earth was young, handsome and green
Besides the meadow near the curly winding flow
There stood a tree proudly high and spry.

Swaying and dancing in wheezy pleasy breeze
Never was he still, always in a swing.
Not even a speck, not a little flea
Never allowed any, sitting in his spray.

Winder came to hinder, pouring all her snow
Our tree kept fighting, throwing all his snow.
Jutting high he stood, leafy and green
In the midst of an ocean of falling snowy flakes.

Two little sparrows, flying from the north
Searching for a shade in that minacious wind.
Saw the mighty tree, swiftly they descent
Nestled in his branches to save their little lives.

Before they could settle, hurled to the ground
Without any mercy, our dancing prancing tree.
Again they tried, again thrown to ground
Again and again, bereft of any kindness.

Tired and puffing that little sparrow mother
Sprawled on his feet fighting for her breath.
Two tiny pearls rolled from her eyes
Smelted on his foot with her warmth and pain.

Dazed and watching, the mighty tree stood
Feeling all the pain the little creature bear.
Heavy at his heart, Heavy was his branches
Forlorn and silent, melting hefty heart.

The feathery teeny couple, eyed the tree quiet
Perched on his branches, prudent and happy.
Later on that day, picking twigs and leaves
Weaving with care, they made their winsome nest.

The dotish dancing tree, spying all their actions
Tussled with tempest, stayed there without motion.
Not a single leaf, not a petty branch
Not even a sigh, he uttered without care.

The pair of lovely birds, huddled in their home
Shared lovely blankets, spreading wings and feathers.
Peeping through his leaves and crimson little branches
He watched the birds slept, with a sense of love.
Teeming deep-felt care, bearing flakes and fall
Proud dancing tree, stood there rapt and frozen.
Winter slowly left and the spring was yet to come
The tiny sparrow mother, laid three wonder eggs.

Hugged and rolled in love, day and night in hurry
Feeble tweets and cry, woke the vigilant tree.
Weeny songs of love, doting brush of quills
Tiny goofy beaks, jutted from the nest.

Like a foster father, our tree stood blessed and chilled
Wished to rock and spin, but moved not in the least.
Time kept flying away, spring came dazzling in
Pretty little chicks, learned to flutter and dance.

Rapture spilled around, florets blossomed out
Covered nacarat flowers, stood he shy and blushed.
Chasing flies and bees, singing songs of love
They float around their grandpa, lovely wonder kids.

Swinging salmon fruits, he fed the little birds
Bowing head and pride, with a dancing heart.
The naughty sparrow chicks, poohed on his branches
But the mighty tree, never mind their doodles.

As the wings got stronger, they soared high and far
On the vicinal lands and to the distant shores
Sailing wonder worlds, flying with their dreams
But never forgot to return, for a goodnight sleep.

On to the cerulean sky, not any farewell words
The happy little family, one day flown and gone.
Watching day and night, our doomed dancing tree
Waited for their return, dreadful and as dead.

Sun shed all his splendors to wake and make him happy
Dismal clouds cried, drenching him in showers.
Winter came and poured, covered him in snow
The dancing tree never moved not a single leaf.

From distant snowy clouds chirping sounds he heard
Woken from his slumber, shaking all his snow.
In wheezy pleasy breeze, swayed and danced in glee
Waited for the couple and one more tale of love.
Michael R Burch May 2020
Song from Ælla: Under the Willow Tree, or, Minstrel's Song
by Thomas Chatterton, age 17 or younger
Modernization/Translation by Michael R. Burch


O! sing unto my roundelay,
O! drop the briny tear with me,
Dance no more at holy-day,
Like a running river be:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

Black his crown as the winter night,
White his flesh as the summer snow
Red his face as the morning light,
Cold he lies in the grave below:
My love is dead,  
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.
Sweet his tongue as the throstle's note,
Quick in dance as thought can be,                      
Deft his tabor, cudgel stout;
O! he lies by the willow-tree!
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

Hark! the raven ***** his wing
In the briar'd dell below;
Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing
To the nightmares, as they go:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

See! the white moon shines on high;
Whiter is my true-love's shroud:
Whiter than the morning sky,
Whiter than the evening cloud:
My love is dead,  
Gone to his death-bed          
All under the willow-tree.

Here upon my true-love's grave      
Shall the barren flowers be laid;
Not one holy saint to save
All the coldness of a maid:
My love is dead,  
Gone to his death-bed          
All under the willow-tree.

With my hands I'll frame the briars
Round his holy corpse to grow:
Elf and fairy, light your fires,
Here my body, stilled, shall go:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed          
All under the willow-tree.

Come, with acorn-cup and thorn,
Drain my heart's red blood away;
Life and all its good I scorn,
Dance by night, or feast by day:
My love is dead,  
Gone to his death-bed          
All under the willow-tree.
Water witches, crowned with plaits,
Bear me to your lethal tide.
I die; I come; my true love waits.
Thus the damsel spoke, and died.

The song above is, in my opinion, competitive with Shakespeare's songs in his plays, and may be the best of Thomas Chatterton's Rowley poems. It seems rather obvious that this song was written in modern English, then "backdated." One wonders whether Chatterton wrote it in response to Shakespeare's "Under the Greenwood Tree." The greenwood tree or evergreen is a symbol of immortality. The "weeping willow" is a symbol of sorrow, and the greatest human sorrow is that of mortality and the separations caused by death. If Chatterton wrote his song as a refutation of Shakespeare's, I think he did a **** good job. But it's a splendid song in its own right.

William Blake is often considered to be the first English Romantic. Blake is the elder of the so-called “big six” of Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. I would add the great Scottish poet Robert Burns, making it a big seven. However, I believe Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats actually nominated an earlier poet as the first of their tribe: Thomas Chatterton. Unfortunately, Chatterton committed suicide in his teens, after being accused of literary fraud. What he did as a boy was astounding.

On this page, I prove that Thomas Chatterton could not possibly be guilty of the crime he was accused of:

Keywords/Tags: Chatterton, Romantic, Rowley, fraud, forger, forgery, roundelay, minstrel, song, Aella, willow
Up from the ground did its trunk shoot,
Anchored deep by its twisted roots,
Spreading out its branches went,
Bending down with their leaf and flowered blossom scent.

Its old rugged bark clothed its wood,
There for 250 years the old tree stood,
Near the path walking way,
Where the local people would walk each day.

Down upon the old tree seen,
Against its bark the sunlight would gleam,
Except in its notches and crevice marks,
That covered portions of its bark.

How its branches in the wind did sway,
As some of its blossoms upon the breeze did sail away,
When at that moment heard the tree,
The voice of the wind softly speak.

Have you ever seen such beauty as she?
Whistled the wind to the Cherry Tree,
See the beautiful maiden below…
Wrapped in thou blossoms that you have grown?

Tell me tree… is it not so…
That thou blossom beauty comes and goes?
Yet among you is a blossom I do see,
That loses not its enchanted beauty.

The tree looked upon Libby then said to the air…
Indeed - beautiful is the maiden standing there,
Oh yes… she has bloomed into a special piece,
A truly molded masterpiece.

And it is true… her beauty stays,
Not carried off by you the wind… or damaged by the hot sun rays,
Her beauty that she does maintain,
Is neither damaged by the insects nor washed away by the rain.

How I do wish… said the cherry tree,
That this one blossom would stay with me,
Yet sadly the tree said… “I Know
Like all the other blossoms… this one too must go.”

For a gentle breeze shall come along…
And sweep her off her feet… carrying her along,
For such a beautiful blossom… with a precious heart display,
Is bound to be picked… and carried away.

For beauty such as hers… is rarely seen,
It comes but once in a lifetime… as it always seems to be,
Then the tree asked the wind… “What’s the name of the blossom that grows?
The one that we speak of… that stands below?”

Then the wind gazing down,
At the blossom standing on the ground,
Then said softly to the cherry tree…
“They call this blossom… Liberata Marinilli.”
Some people get the privilege to meet others that they can truly testify... are the most rarest and beautiful individuals that God ever etched with His hand and then placed on earth. And that God must exist, Because there would be no other explanation good enough to give reason to the existence of such beauty... other than to be formed by a creator, so that He may delight in gazing upon it.  Joseph D. R-H Palmateer
Alex Williams Oct 2011
Underneath the willow tree,
Sits below just you and me.
And all the many other things
That sit beneath the willow tree.

The willow tree between we,
And we around the willow tree.
A single bird begins to sing,
Underneath the willow tree.

I look at you, look at me,
Our eyes show that we’re happy.
The ground sprouts signs of the spring,
Underneath the willow tree.

My hand slithers cross the ground,
Hoping that hers can be found.
Wondering what this act will bring,
Underneath the willow tree.

Finally our fingers touch,
Hearts are beating so **** much.
Through the leaves the sun glinting,
Underneath the willow tree.

In a fury mind gives way.
I will take her, here, today.
Together our bodies cling,
Underneath the willow tree.

As we begin to reach bliss,
I lean to you and we kiss.
My whole body starts to sting,
Underneath the willow tree.

In the end we’re where we were,
Me just sitting next to her.
Our world hanging from a string.
Underneath the willow tree.
“Give me of your bark, O Birch-Tree!
Of your yellow bark, O Birch-Tree!
Growing by the rushing river,
Tall and stately in the valley!
I a light canoe will build me,
Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing,
That shall float upon the river,
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily!

“Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-Tree!
Lay aside your white-skin wrapper,
For the Summer-time is coming,
And the sun is warm in heaven,
And you need no white-skin wrapper!”

Thus aloud cried Hiawatha
In the solitary forest,
By the rushing Taquamenaw,
When the birds were singing gayly,
In the Moon of Leaves were singing,
And the sun, from sleep awaking,
Started up and said, “Behold me!
Gheezis, the great Sun, behold me!”

And the tree with all its branches
Rustled in the breeze of morning,
Saying, with a sigh of patience,
“Take my cloak, O Hiawatha!”

With his knife the tree he girdled;
Just beneath its lowest branches,
Just above the roots, he cut it,
Till the sap came oozing outward:
Down the trunk, from top to bottom,
Sheer he cleft the bark asunder,
With a wooden wedge he raised it,
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken.

“Give me of your boughs, O Cedar!
Of your strong and pliant branches,
My canoe to make more steady,
Make more strong and firm beneath me!”

Through the summit of the Cedar
Went a sound, a cry of horror,
Went a murmur of resistance;
But it whispered, bending downward,
“Take my boughs, O Hiawatha!”

Down he hewed the boughs of cedar,
Shaped them straightway to a framework,
Like two bows he formed and shaped them,
Like two bended bows together.

“Give me of your roots, O Tamarack!
Of your fibrous roots, O Larch-Tree!
My canoe to bind together.
So to bind the ends together,
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!”

And the Larch, with all its fibres,
Shivered in the air of morning,
Touched his forehead with its tassels,
Said, with one long sigh of sorrow,
“Take them all, O Hiawatha!”

From the earth he tore the fibres,
Tore the tough roots of the Larch-Tree,
Closely sewed the bark together,
Bound it closely to the framework.

“Give me of your balm, O Fir-Tree!
Of your balsam and your resin,
So to close the seams together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!”

And the Fir-Tree, tall and sombre,
Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like a shore with pebbles,
Answered wailing, answered weeping,
“Take my balm, O Hiawatha!”

And he took the tears of balsam,
Took the resin of the Fir-Tree,
Smeared therewith each seam and fissure,
Made each crevice safe from water.

“Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog!
All your quills, O Kagh, the Hedgehog!
I will make a necklace of them,
Make a girdle for my beauty,
And two stars to deck her *****!”

From a hollow tree the Hedgehog
With his sleepy eyes looked at him,
Shot his shining quills, like arrows,
Saying, with a drowsy murmur,
Through the tangle of his whiskers,
“Take my quills, O Hiawatha!”

From the ground the quills he gathered,
All the little shining arrows,
Stained them red and blue and yellow,
With the juice of roots and berries;
Into his canoe he wrought them,
Round its waist a shining girdle,
Round its bow a gleaming necklace,
On its breast two stars resplendent.

Thus the Birch Canoe was builded
In the valley, by the river,
In the ***** of the forest;
And the forest’s life was in it,
All its mystery and its magic,
All the lightness of the birch-tree,
All the toughness of the cedar,
All the larch’s supple sinews;
And it floated on the river
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily.

Paddles none had Hiawatha,
Paddles none he had or needed,
For his thoughts as paddles served him,
And his wishes served to guide him;
Swift or slow at will he glided,
Veered to right or left at pleasure.

Then he called aloud to Kwasind,
To his friend, the strong man, Kwasind,
Saying, “Help me clear this river
Of its sunken logs and sand-bars.”

Straight into the river Kwasind
Plunged as if he were an otter,
Dived as if he were a ******,
Stood up to his waist in water,
To his arm-pits in the river,
Swam and shouted in the river,
Tugged at sunken logs and branches,
With his hands he scooped the sand-bars,
With his feet the ooze and tangle.

And thus sailed my Hiawatha
Down the rushing Taquamenaw,
Sailed through all its bends and windings,
Sailed through all its deeps and shallows,
While his friend, the strong man, Kwasind,
Swam the deeps, the shallows waded.

Up and down the river went they,
In and out among its islands,
Cleared its bed of root and sand-bar,
Dragged the dead trees from its channel,
Made its passage safe and certain
Made a pathway for the people,
From its springs among the mountains,
To the water of Pauwating,
To the bay of Taquamenaw.
Matthew James Apr 2016
Poem 6 edited
I know and understand the cynicism of most on this topic, but I can assure you that I have not invented any of this, so treat my poem with the seriousness it deserves.

It is a tale of forgotten events.

Things I'd pushed away from my mind as a child.

Things I did not believe we're real.

The dark.

The uncanny.

The Unknown.

I'll begin...

The Evil Tree.

To get to the gravestone we had to pass an old tree
One with a terrible history
A tale that ended, evilly

We walked through the dark woods toward the evil tree.
The mist hung the way it does normally,
but in an evil way.

The trees around the evil tree leaned away fearfully
Or some of them leaned towards the tree,
but less toward than they'd normally be
If it weren't an evil tree

The evilness of the evil tree
was so great that it hid it cleverly
By looking just like every other tree
But evil

Its roots were evil roots
Taking evil nutrients
That looked like other nutrients,
But evil

The evil nutrients fed the evil trunk
Like an evil woody chunk
Filled with standard sappy gunk
But evil

The evil gunk was in the branches too
The branches were evil through and through
They were deepest, darkest evil brown
With evil moss up and down
Swaying in an evil way
Like other branches day to day,
But evil

The branches followed on to the evil twigs
Twigs thinly evil; branches evilly big
Growing out ShArP AnD POINTY!
Like skinny arms, evilly jointy!!
But at the ends of these twigs...

Unlike ordinary twigs...

Were leaves,

Evil leaves!
EvIL lEaVEs!!!
Everywhere were evil leaves!
Some of them high in the trees!
Some of them were on the floor
And on the graves I saw yet more!
Evil green
And brown and red!
Many of them just lay down DEAD!

And if that were not enough...

I walked toward this evil tree
Unaware how evil a tree could be
As I bravely gained upon this pillar
I saw a hungry caterpillar
It was crawling in the normal way
Like caterpillars do every day

Slowly, it crawled
Twisted and contorting its body
Edging ever closer
Toward me

I innocently reached down to pick him up

And that's when I noticed

The bite marks

In the leaf

An evil leaf!!

Time seemed to slow right down
I noticed too late, the evil brown!
I saw its evil greeny hue
And it's evil hairy back
Looking like other caterpillar do,
that don't give you a heart attack
Tick and tock
The time passed by
I saw the evil monsters eye
Raised upon an evil stalk
Wondering if he could scream or talk
What would he say?!

He'd say...

I'm an evil caterpillar
I will maim and devour these leaves
Not just the evil, the innocent too
Their life will be a tasty filler
And as their branchy mother greaves
She can watch me as I chew, chew, chew
Just like other caterpillars do
But evil!

And then I'll grow an evil cuccoon
One with plenty of evil room
And hang high in the evil branches
Where nobody would take their chances

Outside, it's still and eerie calm
Inside I start to dis embalm
I flay my skin
And then begin
To change

And after many evil days
You think you've lost my evil ways
Until I break
I'm born anew
My evil body grew and grew
The most hideously evil things
A pair of pretty butterfly wings!

And as I had this evil thought
I realised that I was caught!!
The caterpillar crawled on to my hand
But ...
strange enough I felt just grand!
There was not heat nor evil sting
Just this tiny little thing
I realised he wasn't evil
Less evil than a common weevil
I lifted high, held him aloft
When suddenly he fell back off!

I looked down on him, like a God
Lifted my foot and then I trod!

I now know what happened you see
He passed his evil on to meeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
fatima Jul 2018
My nights are cold and sad as I sip a black pitched coffee that I am holding in my hands. The slumber of sadness still grows in my heart while I let myself succumb in a little blanket with dusty furs beneath. The sadness becomes a growing pain until it become a ghostly pain that lives inside every night with a growl of wildness that seems so silent yet so deadly. All of the stars, no, the universe saw the pain that seems like a winter sadness that just grow everyday as I try to live my life looking for the brightness of a star and a comfort of a tree that seems worn out at times.

         But my nights that are full of sorrows seems alive yet there’s a growing tree that I saw every night as I look upon the twinkling stars. The tree seems alive but I ponder every night in my cracked window ‘Does the tree grows in night full of sadness?’. That place seems questionable to me because when I looked upon my window it can’t be seen easily yet it fills me up at some point. Every night as I look through my window I realized that the tree was just there at the beginning or maybe even before my own beginning. Maybe I failed to notice the wonder of it every night so I tried to peek on it. As I peek on it, I become scared thinking that there will be wildness that I can’t take so I decided to just don’t look at it again.

         Looking back, I brushed it off. The tree was just there as I grow with my endless sadness. My sadness becomes numb and my black pitched coffee becomes monotonous. As the night fades, I can feel the numbness in my body and the coldness of my heart. The shining sun seems a striking light to me that I can’t take that makes me feel burned and at some point, I also thought that it would turn me into ashes. Strangely as I grow up and I tend to be number, I remembered the tree that I looked upon in the midst of my growing sadness. I strangely go the tree that makes me feel scared before. The tree made me feel at home, a strange feeling that someone like me can’t feel in spite of all fake happiness that I display in the warm sunshine up until to the lavenders and pinks of sunset.

        Every night, I always went to that spot, that tree that made me feel scared before. Even in the sunshine I always look upon the tree and it makes me feel at ease. Despite the scorching heat of sun, I always felt the freshness of spring and the bloom of flowers with a beautiful melody of birds. Even in the sadness of nights, I can feel the beauty and mystery of the moon with the stars that looks painted in the night sky. Everything seems beautiful, I guess. Also, my heart grows there with my numbness fading away.

         Looking back at everything that I felt, those judgements are fallacy of my scared heart that is afraid to grow in the light. A child that thinks everything can be handled on its own but it seems like that child is fragile human being after all. Also, despite the happiness that I felt in that place I also want to make that place more beautiful. Maybe the word beautiful is a given statement in that place but still, I want to make that place feel the comfort that it gives to me.

       Right now, that spot seems mesmerizing in my eyes and I hope in the following days, months, and years that spot will always felt like home. A home that I can lean on in the bad days and I can be happy with in my happiest days.
you felt like home, please be happy. i cherish you.

not a poem but a short story for someone who is dearly to me
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
by michael r. burch

i might have said it
but i didn’t

u might have noticed
but u wouldn’t

we might have been us
but we couldn’t

u might respond
but probably shouldn’t

Keywords/Tags: iou, chit, debenture, bill, debt, relationship, lovers, impasse, silence, golden, I, owe, you, borrower, lender, Polonius, collectible, mrbiou

Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love of my life,
light of my morning―
arise, brightly dawning,
for you are my sun.

Give me of heaven
both manna and leaven―
desirous Presence,
Passionate One.

by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

I liked the first passage
of her poem―where it led

(though not nearly enough
to retract what I said.)
Now the book propped up here
flutters, scarcely half read.
It will keep.
Before sleep,
let me read yours instead.

There's something like love
in the rhythms of night
―in the throb of streets
where the late workers drone,
in the sounds that attend
each day’s sad, squalid end―
that reminds us: till death
we are never alone.

So we write from the hearts
that will fail us anon,
words in red
truly bled
though they cannot reveal
whence they came,
who they're for.
And the tap at the door
goes unanswered. We write,
for there is nothing more
than a verse,
than a song,
than this chant of the blessed:
"If these words
be my sins,
let me die unconfessed!
Unconfessed, unrepentant;
I rescind all my vows!"
Write till sleep:
it’s the leap
only Talent allows.

by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

ozone baby,
till your parched skin cracks
in the white-hot flash
of radiation.

from your pale parched lips
shall not avail;
you made this hell.
Now burn.

Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

Sunday School,
Faith Free Will Baptist, 1973:
I sat imagining watery folds
of pale silk encircling her waist.

Explicit *** was the day’s “hot” topic
(how breathlessly I imagined hers)
as she taught us the perils of lust
fraught with inhibition.

I found her unaccountably beautiful,
rolling implausible nouns off the edge of her tongue:
adultery, fornication, *******, ******.
Acts made suddenly plausible by the faint blush
of her unrouged cheeks,
by her pale lips
accented only by a slight quiver,
a trepidation.

What did those lustrous folds foretell
of our uncommon desire?
Why did she cross and uncross her legs
lovely and long in their taupe sheaths?
Why did her ******* rise pointedly,
as if indicating a direction?

“Come unto me,
(unto me),”
together, we sang,

cheek to breast,
lips on lips,
devout, afire,

my hands
up her skirt,
her pants at her knees:

all night long,
all night long,
in the heavenly choir.

This poem is set at Faith Christian Academy, which I attended for a year during the ninth grade. Another poem, "*** 101," was also written about my experiences at FCA that year.

*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

That day the late spring heat
steamed through the windows of a Crayola-yellow schoolbus
crawling its way up the backwards slopes
of Nowheresville, North Carolina ...

Where we sat exhausted
from the day’s skulldrudgery
and the unexpected waves of muggy,
summer-like humidity ...

Giggly first graders sat two abreast
behind senior high students
sprouting their first sparse beards,
their implausible bosoms, their stranger affections ...

The most unlikely coupling—

Lambert, 18, the only college prospect
on the varsity basketball team,
the proverbial talldarkhandsome
swashbuckling cocksman, grinning ...

Beside him, Wanda, 13,
bespectacled, in her primproper attire
and pigtails, staring up at him,
fawneyed, disbelieving ...

And as the bus filled with the improbable musk of her,
as she twitched impaled on his finger
like a dead frog jarred to life by electrodes,
I knew ...

that love is a forlorn enterprise,
that I would never understand it.

by Michael R. Burch

Black waters, deep and dark and still . . .
all men have passed this way, or will.

I wrote the poem above as a teenager in high school. The lines started out as part of a longer poem, but I thought these were the two best lines and decided to let them stand alone on the principle that "discretion is the better part of valor."

by Michael R. Burch

Friends, beware
of her iniquitous hair:
long, ravenblack & melancholy.

Many suitors drowned there:
lost, unaware
of the length & extent of their folly.

Originally published by Grand Little Things

At Cædmon’s Grave
by Michael R. Burch

“Cædmon’s Hymn,” composed at the Monastery of Whitby (a North Yorkshire fishing village), is one of the oldest known poems written in the English language, dating back to around 680 A.D. According to legend, Cædmon, an illiterate Anglo-Saxon cowherd, received the gift of poetic composition from an angel; he subsequently founded a school of Christian poets. Unfortunately, only nine lines of Cædmon’s verse survive, in the writings of the Venerable Bede. Whitby, tiny as it is, reappears later in the history of English literature, having been visited, in diametric contrast, by Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker’s ghoulish yet evocative Dracula.

At the monastery of Whitby,
on a day when the sun sank through the sea,
and the gulls shrieked wildly, jubilant, free,

while the wind and time blew all around,
I paced those dusk-enamored grounds
and thought I heard the steps resound

of Carroll, Stoker and of Bede
who walked there, too, their spirits freed
—perhaps by God, perhaps by need—

to write, and with each line, remember
the glorious light of Cædmon’s ember,
scorched tongues of flame words still engender.

Here, as darkness falls, at last we meet.
I lay this pale garland of words at his feet.

Originally published by The Lyric

Cædmon's Hymn (circa 658-680 AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Humbly now we honour heaven-kingdom's Guardian,
the Measurer's might and his mind-plans,
the goals of the Glory-Father. First he, the Everlasting Lord,
established earth's fearful foundations.
Then he, the First Scop, hoisted heaven as a roof
for the sons of men: Holy Creator,
mankind's great Maker! Then he, the Ever-Living Lord,
afterwards made men middle-earth: Master Almighty!

Cædmon’s Face
by Michael R. Burch

At the monastery of Whitby,
on a day when the sun sank through the sea,
and the gulls shrieked wildly, jubilant, free,

while the wind and Time blew all around,
I paced that dusk-enamored ground
and thought I heard the steps resound

of Carroll, Stoker and good Bede
who walked here too, their spirits freed
—perhaps by God, perhaps by need—

to write, and with each line, remember
the glorious light of Cædmon’s ember:
scorched tongues of flame words still engender.

He wrote here in an English tongue,
a language so unlike our own,
unlike—as father unto son.

But when at last a child is grown.
his heritage is made well-known:
his father’s face becomes his own.

He wrote here of the Middle-Earth,
the Maker’s might, man’s lowly birth,
of every thing that God gave worth

suspended under heaven’s roof.
He forged with simple words His truth
and nine lines left remain the proof:

his face was Poetry’s, from youth.

Song from Ælla: Under the Willow Tree, or, Minstrel's Song
by Thomas Chatterton, age 17 or younger
modernization/translation by Michael R. Burch

O! sing unto my roundelay,
O! drop the briny tear with me,
Dance no more at holy-day,
Like a running river be:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Black his crown as the winter night,
White his skin as the summer snow,
Red his face as the morning light,
Cold he lies in the grave below:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Sweet his tongue as the throstle's note,
Quick in dance as thought can be,
Deft his tabor, cudgel stout;
O! he lies by the willow tree!
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Hark! the raven ***** his wing
In the briar'd dell below;
Hark! the death-owl loudly sings
To the nightmares, as they go:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

See! the white moon shines on high;
Whiter is my true love's shroud:
Whiter than the morning sky,
Whiter than the evening cloud:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Here upon my true love's grave
Shall the barren flowers be laid;
Not one holy saint to save
All the coolness of a maid:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

With my hands I'll frame the briars
Round his holy corpse to grow:
Elf and fairy, light your fires,
Here my body, stilled, shall go:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Come, with acorn-cup and thorn,
Drain my heart’s red blood away;
Life and all its good I scorn,
Dance by night, or feast by day:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

Water witches, crowned with plaits,
Bear me to your lethal tide.
I die; I come; my true love waits.
Thus the damsel spoke, and died.

The song above is, in my opinion, competitive with Shakespeare's songs in his plays, and may be the best of Thomas Chatterton's so-called "Rowley" poems. The fact that Chatterton wrote it in his teens is astounding.

An Excelente Balade of Charitie (“An Excellent Ballad of Charity”)
by Thomas Chatterton, age 17
modernization/translation by Michael R. Burch

As wroten bie the goode Prieste
Thomas Rowley 1464

In Virgynë the swelt'ring sun grew keen,
Then hot upon the meadows cast his ray;
The apple ruddied from its pallid green
And the fat pear did extend its leafy spray;
The pied goldfinches sang the livelong day;
'Twas now the pride, the manhood of the year,
And the ground was mantled in fine green cashmere.

The sun was gleaming in the bright mid-day,
Dead-still the air, and likewise the heavens blue,
When from the sea arose, in drear array,
A heap of clouds of sullen sable hue,
Which full and fast unto the woodlands drew,
Hiding at once the sun's fair festive face,
As the black tempest swelled and gathered up apace.

Beneath a holly tree, by a pathway's side,
Which did unto Saint Godwin's convent lead,
A hapless pilgrim moaning did abide.
Poor in his sight, ungentle in his ****,
Long brimful of the miseries of need,
Where from the hailstones could the beggar fly?
He had no shelter there, nor any convent nigh.

Look in his gloomy face; his sprite there scan;
How woebegone, how withered, dried-up, dead!
Haste to thy parsonage, accursèd man!
Haste to thy crypt, thy only restful bed.
Cold, as the clay which will grow on thy head,
Is Charity and Love among high elves;
Knights and Barons live for pleasure and themselves.

The gathered storm is ripe; the huge drops fall;
The sunburnt meadows smoke and drink the rain;
The coming aghastness makes the cattle pale;
And the full flocks are driving o'er the plain;
Dashed from the clouds, the waters float again;
The heavens gape; the yellow lightning flies;
And the hot fiery steam in the wide flamepot dies.

Hark! now the thunder's rattling, clamoring sound
Heaves slowly on, and then enswollen clangs,
Shakes the high spire, and lost, dispended, drown'd,
Still on the coward ear of terror hangs;
The winds are up; the lofty elm-tree swings;
Again the lightning―then the thunder pours,
And the full clouds are burst at once in stormy showers.

Spurring his palfrey o'er the watery plain,
The Abbot of Saint Godwin's convent came;
His chapournette was drenchèd with the rain,
And his pinched girdle met with enormous shame;
He cursing backwards gave his hymns the same;
The storm increasing, and he drew aside
With the poor alms-craver, near the holly tree to bide.

His cape was all of Lincoln-cloth so fine,
With a gold button fasten'd near his chin;
His ermine robe was edged with golden twine,
And his high-heeled shoes a Baron's might have been;
Full well it proved he considered cost no sin;
The trammels of the palfrey pleased his sight
For the horse-milliner loved rosy ribbons bright.

"An alms, Sir Priest!" the drooping pilgrim said,
"Oh, let me wait within your convent door,
Till the sun shineth high above our head,
And the loud tempest of the air is o'er;
Helpless and old am I, alas!, and poor;
No house, no friend, no money in my purse;
All that I call my own is this―my silver cross.

"Varlet," replied the Abbott, "cease your din;
This is no season alms and prayers to give;
My porter never lets a beggar in;
None touch my ring who in dishonor live."
And now the sun with the blackened clouds did strive,
And shed upon the ground his glaring ray;
The Abbot spurred his steed, and swiftly rode away.

Once more the sky grew black; the thunder rolled;
Fast running o'er the plain a priest was seen;
Not full of pride, not buttoned up in gold;
His cape and jape were gray, and also clean;
A Limitour he was, his order serene;
And from the pathway side he turned to see
Where the poor almer lay beneath the holly tree.

"An alms, Sir Priest!" the drooping pilgrim said,
"For sweet Saint Mary and your order's sake."
The Limitour then loosen'd his purse's thread,
And from it did a groat of silver take;
The needy pilgrim did for happiness shake.
"Here, take this silver, it may ease thy care;
"We are God's stewards all, naught of our own we bear."

"But ah! unhappy pilgrim, learn of me,
Scarce any give a rentroll to their Lord.
Here, take my cloak, as thou are bare, I see;
'Tis thine; the Saints will give me my reward."
He left the pilgrim, went his way abroad.
****** and happy Saints, in glory showered,
Let the mighty bend, or the good man be empowered!

TRANSLATOR'S NOTES: It is possible that some words used by Chatterton were his own coinages; some of them apparently cannot be found in medieval literature. In a few places I have used similar-sounding words that seem to not overly disturb the meaning of the poem. ― Michael R. Burch

***** Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Are You the Thief
by Michael R. Burch

When I touch you now,
O sweet lover,
full of fire,
melting like ice
in my embrace,

when I part the delicate white lace,
baring pale flesh,
and your face
is so close
that I breathe your breath
and your hair surrounds me like a wreath...

tell me now,
O sweet, sweet lover,
in good faith:
are you the thief
who has stolen my heart?

Originally published as “Baring Pale Flesh” by Poetic License/Monumental Moments

by Michael R. Burch

There was a moment
suspended in time like a swelling drop of dew about to fall,
impendent, pregnant with possibility ...

when we might have made ...
anything we dreamed,
almost anything at all,
coalescing dreams into reality.

Oh, the love we might have fashioned
out of a fine mist and the nightly sparkle of the cosmos
and the rhythms of evening!

But we were young,
and what might have been is now a dark abyss of loss
and what is left is not worth saving.

But, oh, you were lovely,
child of the wild moonlight, attendant tides and doting stars,
and for a day,

what little we partook
of all that lay before us seemed so much,
and passion but a force
with which to play.

Davenport Tomorrow
by Michael R. Burch

Davenport tomorrow ...
all the trees stand stark-naked in the sun.

Now it is always summer
and the bees buzz in cesspools,
adapted to a new life.

There are no flowers,
but the weeds, being hardier,
have survived.

The small town has become
a city of millions;
there is no longer a sea,
only a huge sewer,
but the children don't mind.

They still study
rocks and stars,
but biology is a forgotten science ...
after all, what is life?

Davenport tomorrow ...
all the children murmur through vein-streaked gills
whispered wonders of long-ago.

by Michael R. Burch

for Beth, Laura, and all good mothers

Bring your peculiar strength
to the strange nightmarish fray:
wrap up your cherished ones
in the golden light of day.


Originally published by The Lyric

by Michael R. Burch

Now twice she has left me
and twice I have listened
and taken her back, remembering days

when love lay upon us
and sparkled and glistened
with the brightness of dew through a gathering haze.

But twice she has left me
to start my life over,
and twice I have gathered up embers, to learn:

rekindle a fire
from ash, soot and cinder
and softly it sputters, refusing to burn.

Originally published by The Lyric

Pale Though Her Eyes
by Michael R. Burch

Pale though her eyes,
her lips are scarlet
from drinking of blood,
this child, this harlot

born of the night
and her heart, of darkness,
evil incarnate
to dance so reckless,

dreaming of blood,
her fangs―white―baring,
revealing her lust,
and her eyes, pale, staring ...

by Michael R. Burch

Vampires are such fragile creatures;
we dread the dark, but the light destroys them ...
sunlight, or a stake, or a cross―such common things.
Still, late at night, when the bat-like vampire sings,
we shrink from his voice.

Centuries have taught us:
in shadows danger lurks for those who stray,
and there the vampire bares his yellow fangs
and feels the ancient soul-tormenting pangs.
He has no choice.

We are his prey, plump and fragrant,
and if we pray to avoid him, the more he prays to find us ...
prays to some despotic hooded God
whose benediction is the humid blood
he lusts to taste.

Published by Monumental Moments (Eye Scry Publications), Weirdbook, Gothic Fairy, Dracula and His Kin, NawaZone and Raiders’ Digest

The Vampire's Spa Day Dream
by Michael R. Burch

O, to swim in vats of blood!
I wish I could, I wish I could!
O, 'twould be
so heavenly
to swim in lovely vats of blood!

This poem was inspired by a Josh Parkinson depiction of Elizabeth Bathory up to her nostrils in the blood of her victims, with their skulls floating in the background.

For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

For all that I remembered, I forgot
her name, her face, the reason that we loved ...
and yet I hold her close within my thought.
I feel the burnished weight of auburn hair
that fell across her face, the apricot
clean scent of her shampoo, the way she glowed
so palely in the moonlight, angel-wan.

The memory of her gathers like a flood
and bears me to that night, that only night,
when she and I were one, and if I could ...
I'd reach to her this time and, smiling, brush
the hair out of her eyes, and hold intact
each feature, each impression. Love is such
a threadbare sort of magic, it is gone
before we recognize it. I would crush
my lips to hers to hold their memory,
if not more tightly, less elusively.

Originally published by The Raintown Review

Ode to the Sun
by Michael R. Burch

Day is done...
on, swift sun.
Follow still your silent course.
Follow your unyielding course.
On, swift sun.

Leave no trace of where you've been;
give no hint of what you've seen.
But, ever as you onward flee,
touch me, O sun,
touch me.

Now day is done...
on, swift sun.
Go touch my love about her face
and warm her now for my embrace,
for though she sleeps so far away,
where she is not, I shall not stay.
Go tell her now I, too, shall come.
Go on, swift sun,
go on.

Published by The Tucumcari Literary Review. I believe I wrote this poem toward the end of my senior year in high school, around age 18, during my early Romantic Period. Keywords/Tags: Ode, Romantic, Love, Lover, Sun, Time, Night, Sleep, Dreams, mrbiou

To the boy Elis
by Georg Trakl
translation by Michael R. Burch

Elis, when the blackbird cries from the black forest,
it announces your downfall.
Your lips sip the rock-spring's blue coolness.

Your brow sweats blood
recalling ancient myths
and dark interpretations of birds' flight.

Yet you enter the night with soft footfalls;
the ripe purple grapes hang suspended
as you wave your arms more beautifully in the blueness.

A thornbush crackles;
where now are your moonlike eyes?
How long, oh Elis, have you been dead?

A monk dips waxed fingers
into your body's hyacinth;
Our silence is a black abyss

from which sometimes a docile animal emerges
slowly lowering its heavy lids.
A black dew drips from your temples:

the lost gold of vanished stars.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: I believe that in the second stanza the blood on Elis's forehead may be a reference to the apprehensive ****** sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. If my interpretation is correct, Elis hears the blackbird's cries, anticipates the danger represented by a harbinger of death, but elects to continue rather than turn back. From what I have been able to gather, the color blue had a special significance for Georg Trakl: it symbolized longing and perhaps a longing for death. The colors blue, purple and black may represent a progression toward death in the poem.

by Michael R. Burch

Take this geode with its rough exterior—
crude-skinned, brilliant-hearted ...

a diode of amethyst—wild, electric;
its sequined cavity—parted, revealing.

Find in its fire all brittle passion,
each jagged shard relentlessly aching.

Each spire inward—a fission startled;
in its shattered entrails—fractured light,

the heart ice breaking.

Originally published by Poet Lore as “Geode”

by Michael R. Burch

Love—less than eternal, not quite true—
is still the best emotion man can muster.
Through folds of peeling rind—rough, scarred, crude-skinned—
she shines, all limpid brightness, coolly pale.

Crude-skinned though she may seem, still, brilliant-hearted,
in her uneven fissures, glistening, glows
that pale rose: like a flame, yet strangely brittle;
dew-lustrous pearl streaks gaping mossback shell.

And yet, despite the raggedness of her luster,
as she hints and shimmers, touching those who see,
she is not without her uses or her meanings;
in all her avid gleamings, Love bestows

the rare spark of her beauty to her bearer,
till nothing flung to earth seems half so fair.

What Goes Around, Comes
by Michael R. Burch

This is a poem about loss
so why do you toss your dark hair—
unaccountably glowing?
How can you be sure of my heart
when it’s beyond my own knowing?
Or is it love’s pheromones you trust,
my eyes magnetized by your bust
and the mysterious alchemies of lust?
Now I am truly lost!


These epitaphs and other epigrams have been ascribed to Plato...

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
But go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

We left the thunderous Aegean
to sleep peacefully here on the plains of Ecbatan.
Farewell, renowned Eretria, our homeland!
Farewell, Athens, Euboea's neighbor!
Farewell, dear Sea!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

We who navigated the Aegean's thunderous storm-surge
now sleep peacefully here on the mid-plains of Ecbatan:
Farewell, renowned Eretria, our homeland!
Farewell, Athens, nigh to Euboea!
Farewell, dear Sea!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

This poet was pleasing to foreigners
and even more delightful to his countrymen:
Pindar, beloved of the melodious Muses.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Some say the Muses are nine.
Foolish critics, count again!
Sappho of ****** makes ten.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Even as you once shone, the Star of Morning, above our heads,
even so you now shine, the Star of Evening, among the dead.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Why do you gaze up at the stars?
Oh, my Star, that I were Heaven,
to gaze at you with many eyes!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Every heart sings an incomplete song,
until another heart sings along.
Those who would love long to join in the chorus.
At a lover's touch, everyone becomes a poet.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

NOTE: I take this Plato epigram to be an epithalamium, with the two voices joining in a complete song being the bride and groom, and the rest of the chorus being the remainder of the wedding ceremony.

The Apple
ascribed to Plato
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Here's an apple; if you're able to love me,
catch it and chuck me your cherry in exchange.
But if you hesitate, as I hope you won't,
take the apple, examine it carefully,
and consider how briefly its beauty will last.

by Michael R. Burch

..…......fragile elusive
.......if held ... too closely
..the inter..................ruption
of its............................…bright
....and breaks disintegrates
..… the............touch of
....… undiscerning

by Michael R. Burch

I did it out of pity.
I did it out of love.
I did it not to break the heart of a tender, wounded dove.

But gods without compassion
ordained: "Frail things must break!"
Now what can I do for her shattered psyche’s sake?

I did it not to push.
I did it not to shove.
I did it to assist the flight of indiscriminate Love.

But gods, all mad as hatters,
who legislate in all such matters,
ordained that everything irreplaceable shatters.

Break Time
by Michael R. Burch

for those who lost loved ones on 9-11

Intrude upon my grief; sit; take a spot
of milk to cloud the blackness that you feel;
add artificial sweeteners to conceal
the bitter aftertaste of loss. You’ll heal
if I do not. The coffee’s hot. You speak:
of bundt cakes, polls, the price of eggs. You glance
twice at your watch, cough, look at me askance.
The TV drones oeuvres of high romance
in syncopated lip-synch. Should I feel
the underbelly of Love’s warm Ideal,
its fuzzy-wuzzy tummy, and not reel
toward some dark conclusion? Disappear
to pale, dissolving atoms. Were you here?
I brush you off: like saccharine, like a tear.

Dream House
by Michael R. Burch

I have come to the house of my fondest dreams,
but the shutters are boarded; the front door is locked;
the mail box leans over; and where we once walked,
the path is grown over with crabgrass and clover.

I kick the trash can; it screams, topples over.
The yard, weeded over, blooms white fluff, and green.
The elm we once swung from leans over the stream.
In the twilight I cling with both hands to the swing.

Inside, perhaps, I hear the telephone ring
or watch once again as the bleary-eyed mover
takes down your picture. Dejected, I hover,
asking over and over, “Why didn’t you love her?”

“Was gesagt werden muss” (“What must be said”)
by Günter Grass
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Why have I remained silent, so long,
failing to mention something openly practiced
in war games which now threaten to leave us
merely meaningless footnotes?

Someone’s alleged “right” to strike first
might annihilate a beleaguered nation
whose people march to a martinet’s tune,
compelled to pageants of orchestrated obedience.
Why? Merely because of the suspicion
that a bomb might be built by Iranians.

But why do I hesitate, forbidding myself
to name that other nation, where, for years
―shrouded in secrecy―
a formidable nuclear capability has existed
beyond all control, simply because
no inspections were ever allowed?

The universal concealment of this fact
abetted by my own incriminating silence
now feels like a heavy, enforced lie,
an oppressive inhibition, a vice,
a strong constraint, which, if dismissed,
immediately incurs the verdict “anti-Semitism.”

But now my own country,
guilty of its unprecedented crimes
which continually demand remembrance,
once again seeking financial gain
(although with glib lips we call it “reparations”)
has delivered yet another submarine to Israel―
this one designed to deliver annihilating warheads
capable of exterminating all life
where the existence of even a single nuclear weapon remains unproven,
but where suspicion now serves as a substitute for evidence.
So now I will say what must be said.

Why did I remain silent so long?
Because I thought my origins,
tarred by an ineradicable stain,
forbade me to declare the truth to Israel,
a country to which I am and will always remain attached.

Why is it only now that I say,
in my advancing age,
and with my last drop of ink
on the final page
that Israel’s nuclear weapons endanger
an already fragile world peace?

Because tomorrow might be too late,
and so the truth must be heard today.
And because we Germans,
already burdened with many weighty crimes,
could become enablers of yet another,
one easily foreseen,
and thus no excuse could ever erase our complicity.

Furthermore, I’ve broken my silence
because I’m sick of the West’s hypocrisy
and because I hope many others too
will free themselves from the shackles of silence,
and speak out to renounce violence
by insisting on permanent supervision
of Israel’s atomic power and Iran’s
by an international agency
accepted by both governments.

Only thus can we find the path to peace
for Israelis and Palestinians and everyone else
living in a region currently consumed by madness
―and ultimately, for ourselves.

Published in Süddeutschen Zeitung (April 4, 2012). Günter Wilhelm Grass (1927-) is a German-Kashubian novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely regarded as Germany's most famous living writer. Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a key text in European magic realism. The Tin Drum was adapted into a film that won both the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish Academy, upon awarding Grass the Nobel Prize in Literature, noted him as a writer "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history."

Starting from Scratch with Ol’ Scratch
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Love, with a small, fatalistic sigh
went to the ovens. Please don’t bother to cry.
You could have saved her, but you were all *******
complaining about the Jews to Reichmeister Grupp.

Scratch that. You were born after World War II.
You had something more important to do:
while the children of the Nakba were perishing in Gaza
with the complicity of your government, you had a noble cause (a
religious tract against homosexual marriage
and various things gods and evangelists disparage.)

Jesus will grok you? Ah, yes, I’m quite sure
that your intentions were good and ineluctably pure.
After all, what the hell does he care about Palestinians?
Certainly, Christians were right about serfs, slaves and Indians.
Scratch that. You’re one of the Devil’s minions.

Love Unfolded Like a Flower
by Michael R. Burch

Love unfolded
like a flower;
Pale petals pinked and blushed to see the sky.
I came to know you
and to trust you
in moments lost to springtime slipping by.

Then love burst outward,
leaping skyward,
and untamed blossoms danced against the wind.
All I wanted
was to hold you;
though passion tempted once, we never sinned.

Now love's gay petals
fade and wither,
and winter beckons, whispering a lie.
We were friends,
but friendships end . . .
yes, friendships end and even roses die.

by Michael R. Burch

for and after William Blake

Many a sun
and many a moon
I walked the earth
and whistled a tune.

I did not whistle
as I worked:
the whistle was my work.
I shirked

nothing I saw
and made a rhyme
to children at play
and hard time.

Among the prisoners
I saw
the leaden manacles
of Law,

the heavy ball and chain,
the quirt.
And yet I whistled
at my work.

Among the children’s
daisy faces
and in the women’s
frowsy laces,

I saw redemption,
and I smiled.
Satanic millers,

were swayed by neither girl,
nor child,
nor any God of Love.
Yet mild

I whistled at my work,
and Song
broke out,
ere long.

The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

I never meant to love you
when I held you in my arms
promising you sagely
wise, noncommittal charms.

And I never meant to need you
when I touched your tender lips
with kisses that intrigued my own—
such kisses I had never known,
nor a heartbeat in my fingertips!

Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

O little yellow flower
like a star ...
how beautiful,
how wonderful
we are!

Published as the collection "IOU"
Atypnoc Feb 2015
Once upon a time there was a bend in a tree, which grew among other trees and lay among the rocks covered in mosses of different hues of purple.

The tree with a bend had a heart, which was aching.

Because as it had been growing, among the other trees, up from the ground with the rocks and the mosses, it had been burning…

But it swallowed the smoke and it made all efforts to conceal the fire, and the embers, smoldering…

And while growing and burning, with the grand secrecy eking out from the ground surrounding the roots, into a sort of fog or mist that hazed the acre, this tree took some maligned pride in the secrets she kept.

Because she knew, regardless of any other perception of who she was...she knew there was a fire within her. Whether that fire being a good thing, or a harmful thing, did not cross her mind as of consequence. Because while one is still growing, without knowing of consequences...relativity does not exist. Like Shroedinger’s cat, really.

She took pride that the secret was one of physical threat, one with an aura of risk. One that would not be delighted in by those around her, were they aware. One that in fact may frighten them.
She felt brave.

And she felt clever.

Because the low-laying fog or origin unknown to the rest of those around her, she knew the origin. And for this, she felt clever.

The fire was a hunger insatiable; but deliberate, and bade time. A sick balance was struck between that which could be afforded to burn in secrecy, and that which was necessary to stoke the fire.

And for some time, she believed this agreement was manageable, sustainable, and perfect.

Then, a day came.
Where another tree, once seeded nearby, emerged from the soil.

She found herself proximally closer to another tree, than she had ever really anticipated.
And it was small.

And she realized, how grown already she had become.
The fires inside of her, had burned down slowly over time to the base of her trunk… burned her from the center, outwards, but more so down, to the base, where it festered and expanded and thrived on the emerging’s of her roots.
And it thrived, and it devoured her where she was anchored to the earth.

She beheld her nearby sprouted neighbor...she looked downwards upon him, and she saw how tenderly he was held to the soil, which had ashed somehow from below?

And she realized how fragile this child was, she realized how innocent, she realized how impressionable, and how dependent upon her roots, and her barrier to the wind, he was.

It was here that the realization dawned upon her for the very first time, that the life she had created for herself- and the intricate and meticulously hidden secrets she harbored ****** the fresh child who was planted in her soil, to depend upon the strengths of her roots, the strength that all around her naturally assumed existed.

She became frantic.

Bound by brittle, burning roots to the place she had sabotaged in her own short-sighted impulses to define herself as a mysterious and special tree.

And the fire, which she felt had coexisted as an equal within her, she realized was not with any of her interests at heart.

And that which she had begun so long ago, she could not extinguish, or tame.
And her own damage, pain, inflicted in her decisions still were of little concern to her, but to face that now someone else completely undeserving of any of these consequences would suffer greater than even she: it broke her.

She lacked any plan to remedy, or seek help, it was far past a point where those around her could offer anything to save her, or help her, or quiet the fire, or save the child.

And so she lived on as a slave to the wicked fires gnawing away at her everything, at the air surrounding, of the soil, of the example…

And she died far too slowly, as she watched each passing day those around her living timid tender serene lives of trees

Oblivious in the 'fog'
….and while the young tree beside her came up, but far slower than other trees ought to…

Came up, without solid foundation, roots that were unable to take hold in the ashy soil
came up, feeling the heat from below and beside, but never knowing well enough to realize it was unusual.

The burning tree died too slowly, and she watched the tree born and die from neglect and inadequate surroundings.

And the small tree wasn't even noticed by any of the other trees, because the burning tree was so enveloped in shame and sorrow to even properly acknowledge the presence of the acres newest sapling.

And so, on she burned, every dawn rising upon the fallen, wilted twig beside her, that only she had known.

And her ashes kept any others from ever seeding and sprouting near her.
And as the years went on, the area surrounding her of death and sorrow spread,
And she was alone.

The end.

— The End —