Saturday, March 04, 2006

Another Tree for Monika

This was posted last year to Lemurian Abbey and to Live Poets, but I felt a re-run was in order, Monika, for you.


I am alone, barely standing,
on this cold
and wintry mountainside.

My comrades,
they are mostly gone now.
Their skeletons scattered,
bleached white, disintegrating
on the frozen ground.
My life is short now,
my future dim.
Can I withstand
another year
of winters such as this?

Long ago,
when I was just a sprout,
a tiny seedling,
I was slow to grow,
but resilient.
My cones were full of seeds.
I was just one of a few,
spaced wide apart,
an open forest on the mountain.
Life was harsh
at ten-thousand feet,
but we thrived
from one year to another.

Bears came to visit,
nuthatches, and squirrels, too.
I heard the cry of eagles
soaring overhead.
Years passed, then centuries,
some were good, some bad.
Rain was sometimes scarce,
the snow pack thin.
I was slow to grow
in the best of times, but
in such a year—
my ring was narrow—
barely visible.
Humans came.
They picked my purple cones,
gathered up my needles,
stole bits of me for souvenirs.
They probed my heart
for specimens to study in the lab.

For centuries,
we had the mountain to ourselves.
We survived,
but only God knows how.
I am alone now,
having outlived all the others.
My trunk is twisted, and
there's very little green.
My needles are small and weak.
My cones, what there are of them,
are scattered in the wind.
These old roots cannot
hold me upright for much longer.
Soon my sun bleached carcass
will lie upon the frozen ground.

But, my energy,
my nutrients, will feed the soil.
Someday, some tiny part of me
will become a seedling,
a sprig of green
and I will survive again
to survey my world
from this lofty mountain-side.

Feel not sorry for me
or kick my bleached bones aside.
Though I am not a beauty;
a Sequoia or a Redwood,
I am unique, resilient,
I’m a hardy Bristlecone.

Vi Jones
©March 30, 2006


At 8:41 AM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

A passionate and emotive piece. The endless cycle of life is apparent here, and all its wonders. Yet, as part of the whole, which we are, everything thrives. Part of us changes, only to shoot back up again, wise and willing to go another round, in the guise of a green ornery shoot. Everything changes, and everything stays the same. Dance the dance of life, it says, and go another round;-)


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