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Poet's Platform Column | 20 April 06

by Janet Nesler | The Scioto Voice | Wheelersburg, Ohio


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The Giving Tree

The backyard Walnut tree
Stood guard and made shade
For 40 years,
Watching a family grow,
Giving its limbs to little boys
For tree houses,
Its leaves for shade,
Its harvest
To be gathered in a sack
By small stained hands,
To top sundaes
On hot summer days.

As it aged,
Ivy adorned its trunk,
Limbs grew knarled
Sun peeped through its shade
Its harvest ceased.
Small stained hands had grown
Full size
And labored somewhere else.

Today saws came,
My soul felt the vibration
From its fall,
Also a mixture of pride and loss
As the giant truck hauled away
Amber wood,
Stacked like fine wine.

The giving tree
So much left to give,
Age no factor,
Maybe a walnut bookcase
For some child’s room
Holding books that bring adventures
To foreign lands,
Or adored as some child’s
Prized walnut piano,
Helping him discover great talent
As small fingers
Run gently across the keys.

Janet Nesler


Conversation with an Oak

“Why do you stand alone upon this field
from which all members of your race have fled?”
“I must never fall, and I must never yield;
I am their monument,” the giant said.

“I am their living monument; I stand.
as a reminder of a day long lost
when my race was possessor of the land,
holding boundaries that no man had crossed.”

“It was only chance,” I said, “or sentiment,
or woodman’s whim that left you standing here.
Perhaps the spring which Nature kindly lent
to bathe your feet, has washed away your fear.”

“Perhaps,” the oak replied, “perhaps, but yet
I am their monument. I battle storms
for their sake; and that men may not forget,
I cradle feathered song within my arms.”

John Engle
Xeina, OH
From “Tree People”


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