from seed to fruit
WHEN YOU PLANT a tree, it is with the expectation that it will grow
But O! so long from seed to fruit: the tender shoot
That first sees sun by foot or paw, careless beak, hungry snail,
Days of drought, late spring frost, is vulnerable to the slightest
Whim of chance. Next season, if luck and nurture fare it well,
Taller and just this much stronger it reaches again to heaven.
Speck by speck, ring by ring, imperceptible except we slow so
Much to watch, it grows. Ring, love blossoms. Ring, a friend
Meets god. Ring, a child is born. Ring, half-a-thousand meals shared.
Ring, holidays and holy days. Ring, a tragedy, its burden shared.
Ring, children grow and learn and change and it is hard and it is
Good and they echo in time-lapse another ring, other friends and
Loves and tragedies. Ring, nights up in conversations long and
Hard and hopeless and hopeful and painful and beautiful. Ring,
A picnic. Ring, the seashore. Ring, new job. Ring, new service.
Ring, recognition and rewards. Ring, loneliness. Ring, illness.
Ring, growth. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring, and still it is but
A sapling. Stronger, sure, but without luck extraordinary and
Careful nurture, threatened by the flashy flowers and verdant
Grass which sprout and drink deeply of the soil’s mead, shoot
Up and blossom in a season then are gone. Threatened, still,
By storm, by drought, by gardeners’ whips and boys’ pocket knives,
Landscapers’ whims and fire and pest and climate and economy...
Yet, given luck and nurture, luck and nurture, luck and nurture:
Ring, the planters grow old. Ring, the children grow up. Ring and
Ring and ring and ring and ring and the children’s children climb;
Blessed shade and sturdy roots and food and air they breathe
Replenished by the tree in middle age. Now sturdy, tall, it may
Within its boughs provide the shelter it once required but only
With luck (ring!) vigilance (ring!) priority (ring!) nurture (ring!)
And time and time and time and time and time.
- 02 Apr 2008