Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

tree for life

May 12, 2011

I wanted to write you a poem for your birthday
but I couldn’t get my feelings to line up
circling stars with no constellation
a ship without a rudder
or some other metaphor just beyond my grasp

but now I realize that a poem is not the thing
your mother pointed this out to me
kindly and quietly
as she remembered our plan to plant
a weeping Japanese Maple
in your memory
at the corner of our house

a poem is not the thing, no
I need to dig a hole
tease back the grass
then swing the heavy mattock
straining against hard-packed earth
stubborn roots chopped back
shovels full of dirt piling up
a big hole
to make something grow

the man at the nursery said
they will guarantee the tree
if they do the planting
he listened so compassionately
as I asked if perhaps
it would be possible
for me to dig the hole
and for them to plant the tree

because it’s for you
and I must do the hard labor
back bent, breath short
sweat mixing with tears
remembering your labor
I must do what I can
but at the same time
we can’t allow that tree to die

I want to dig a hole
a place for hope to grow
peace, compassion, kindness
borne of loss
tended with love
watered with tears

Posted in:

5 Responses to “tree for life”

  1. Erin S says:

    lovely. thank you.

  2. Greta Davies says:


  3. Heidi says:

    I wish there was a way to leave this blank so you could know I read it and was struck dumb. What could I possibly say? Thank you seems like such a strange thing to write…but it is what I mean. Thank you.

  4. Jackie says:

    Wow. Just wow. So beautiful, so real.

Leave a Reply