branch broken, humanity, immobility, life family, messages from trees, poems, Poetry, tree, tree relatives, tree stories, tree violence
Although this poem refers to the immobility of trees, it encouraged me to reflect on other forms of immobility, whether people, attitudes, groups, or more.
©B. Luceigh, November, 2014
The oak tree stands
where a woodpecker once dropped an acorn in transport,
a random site, dirt and moisture for a womb
under the sun’s light.
Its roots record the oak’s birthplace
and bestow trunk immobility for a lifetime,
a small piece of earth having its hold.
The oak tree before me now,
tall and wide and dense,
displays its history in patterns of branches,
memories of past joys and heartaches,
a record of storms and droughts and nesting birds,
now offering shade for my protection.
The tree I call mine has known little violence,
perhaps a branch broken by an overweight raccoon,
the surgical cut of a limb endangering my roof.
But what of other trees I saw in the news this morning?
The one uprooted to pave a parking lot?
The one blown to sawdust by a war’s bomb?
The one with a raped young woman hung on it?
The one standing lifeless above an outdoor school
of young children being taught how to kill?
My tree witnesses my human appreciation,
others are immobile to run from humanity’s brutality.
What stories do they report by their bends and breaks?
Did they exude tears from their bark,
or scream to shake a branch onto an assassin’s head?
Are trees one measure of humanity’s impact on all of life?
Can we simply look at the trees, the immobile trees,
to learn from them what they have experienced us do?
Have we encouraged their lives, nurtured their inherent beauty,
or slapped them relentlessly to affirm our power over them?
My tree before me now,
tells me in some strange way of its relatives across the earth,
tells me of their messages sent by the wind.
My tree reminds me we are both part of a larger living family,
in a world in danger of imbalance to an extreme.
It reminds me in our peaceful moment together
that many others are not so.
I am grateful that the acorn dropped here
at the birthplace of the tree I call mine
the tree whose immobility within soil
has so deeply moved me within my heart.