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By Mary E. Adair

(©August 27, 2000)

He sprang up slimly as a reed
Rising from a wind tossed seed,
Lifting himself within the shade
His older kinfolks densely made.
The years flew by and still he rose
To tower among the others so close.
Still after fifty years had flown
His strength and growth was not full-blown.
He nodded greetings to the birds
And listened to their twittering words.
He proudly welcomed back their young,
And many nested on his arms wide-flung.
And still he grew, waxing mightier each season,
'Til no others could match his size, within reason.
So outrightly beautiful, he brought forth gasps,
And some admirers hugged him with unabashed clasps.
So another span of years flew by
As his growth was observed sometimes with a sigh,
For now he invoked darkness round his girth,
And his venerable size was his calculated worth.
And had he been harder, and fit to sell,
His ending would have been easy to foretell.
But an Elm casts shade and he did that so well
That his beauty continued to weave its spell.
But Thor looked down one stormy night
And jealously saw his beauty and might,
And quelled his temerity to claim eternity
By sending stark energy to blast with the surety
Of cooking the blood within his arm,
Though seemingly no other part did this harm.
But as the days went by, his leaves began to shed,
And watchers now mourned for they believed him dead.
So naked to the sky he stood
Yet he still continued to foster good...
For beneath his bark the insects grew
And roamed at will as insects do,
And now he provided a veritable treat
And woodpeckers and creepers and jays came to eat,
And the martins darted over his head
For they dined on the termite swarms that fled.
And the wind came along and took by force
A couple of his arms, as wind can, of course.
But still his height beckoned to all
And passing flocks were wont to call
And stay all day commiserating, it seems,
That time would soon silence his dreams.
And the greedy vinelets, his shade had kept at bay,
Now crept closer and climbed, as is always their way.
And often the wind returned to torture by bits,
And his arms were shattered by successive hits.
So now cocooned by vines deeply green,
Only a monolith of his former self can be seen--
But in his heart he knows he still does his duty
And the blooms on the vines enhance his humble beauty.
And within the vines, for new troops of bird friends,
Among the sheltering leaves, their nests he blends.
So his ending is only of growth, for I see
A standing monument to the life of a tree.  

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