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Poetry Pleases: Little Tree

Lorna Des Fountain was looking forwards to moving into a cottage in a retirement village. A part of its appeal was a little Acacia sweet thorn tree standing outside the entrance. However a neighbour poisoned the tree to make space for manoeuvering a large caravan.

The little tree is dying by the day.

Lorna wrote these three linked poems to express her feelings.

DEATH – LITTLE TREE AT 100

Spring
and the stirrings of a new season, new dawns, new life within my branches.

I breathe in deeply, drinking in the minute drops of dew that soften the ravages of a harsh winter.
The dirt of endless construction trickling down my trunk, sticking to my bark.
I thirst for the first African rain, longing to feel washed and energised.

I nurse the gash on my trunk inflicted when a careless human drove his truck at me.
I send healing sticky sap to seal the wound.
I push the first tiny green leaves in clusters out of seemingly dead branches, sucking in the fresh life-giving oxygen.

Within days I have a thick canopy of strong dark green leaves, casting shade over my roots.
A sparrow couple decide I am a perfect place to start their family and begin building their nest.

I look forward to caring humans tending a garden beneath me, lovingly nuturing selected plants to enrich my life.

But it is not to be.

My life is to be cruelly, viley taken.

I see you.!

I see you crouching, evil snigger etching lines in your face.

I see you with your evil concoction in hand.

I see you pour red vile toxin over my precious life giving roots.

I see you shake out the last drops, evil grin, evil nod, evil eyes.

I see you sneak away, shoulders hunched, laughing at my demise.

Oh you cruel man!

You who are Husband, Father, Grandfather.

What have you done?

Would you pour your poison down the throats of those you love?

Would you stand by and watch as slowly, agonisingly, their life ebbs away?

As I shed tiny leaf by tiny leaf, trying to save what is left of me but knowing all is futile
I see you, staring, hands on hips, nodding, sneering.

You got your way.

One-up-manship

At my expense.

Evil man, know this

My life you have taken

Will not leave alone

One of those you so dearly cling to will come with me.

For this is the Law of the Universe.

**

DEATH – LITTLE TREE AT 100 (2)

So how did you manage to sleep last night?

Did you find yourself tossing and turning,

burning?

Me too!

I thought of you.

I thought of the senselessness of your act.

I thought of my life until you came along.

I thought of what will become of my useless body when my soul leaves.

Did you?

Me too!

You know, we have something in common, you and I.

The difference is I wanted nothing but to give and you wanted to take what little I had.

But we were both here, in this space, for a common purpose –

To survive.

I could have taught you so much! I have such history, so many memories!

Ah… those days when cattle and horses grazed and my tender juvenile self grew into this adolecent sapling. Days melded into days, sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset.

In better days a future stretched ahead of me. Animals, humans, young and old, crowded into the shade I offered.

A place to meet, to greet, to dream.

It’s so hard these days, isn’t it? You and I could both say that hey?

Struggling to keep up with a changing world.

Making our plans only to find that something swipes across our page, wiping out futures – yours and mine.


You know, we’re so similar, you and I.

I just look different.

But our pulses are the same, beating to the rythmn of life.

I had no choice at where my tiny seed was planted.
As they say these days – the wrong place at the wrong time.

I guess that applies to all of us though – one way or another.

I know my destiny.

Do you know yours?

Time will tell.

I expect that by tomorrow you’ll be seeing less of me.

Just a few yellowing dying leaves – testimony to a short little life. Victim of your discrimination.

I think of our Lord – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” – but you DID know and so did they.

You’d think humans would have learned by now, wouldn’t you?

As you sow, so you reap.

My destiny is to burn in the fires of those who need fuel.

As you sow, so you reap.

Hey! I’ll see you someday.

Look for me – I’ll be there, branches reaching out to embrace all that care to share my love and protection.

How I wish I was given a chance to prove myself.

See how much we have in common?

**


DEATH - LITTLE TREE AT 100 (3)

The Judas finger points

The pointer exonerated

“It wasn’t me – it was he”

And I, knowing all along just who has done
this vile deed to me

And seeing you, shuffling past,
eyes downcast

As though you can escape your fate if you do not acknowledge my plight.

When you go to pray

Family gathered in mutual cause

Think of me

Think of me.

Think too of what has been done to harm
so many innocents in this life.

Slaughtered people – sacrificed to win someone else’s war.

Slaughtered animals – heads adorning walls, glass eyes blind testimony
to man’s insanity

Forest giants, proud monoliths, decimated, their beautiful stature
gone forever.
Never again to lift up to sun and rain branches tossed wildly, excitedly,
giving shelter to all beneath.
Now a chair, now a table,
corpulant hand stroking grain
“this is solid wood y’know?” “Comes from the forests in ……. y’know?”
“got it for a song too – chap I met in Hong Kong. Did a deal”

Bow your head, pray forgiveness

“Give us this day our daily bread, and lead us not into temptation”

I see you.



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