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The Gnarled Tree
by Claywoman

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           >> View all 36

Grandfather, why are you so bent?
Why are you so wrinkled?
Why are you missing so many branches, so many needles?

Listen to my words my small ancestor.
I once was a small sprout like you,
Looking up at the tall ones,
Asking the same questions.
I reached for the sunshine,
I buried my roots deep within the rich soil.
I tickled when squirrels scampered up my trunk,
And I grew.

Growth takes many, many years,
Patience is our name,
It is the way we exist.
Those who find patience hard
Are those who's roots are shallow,
Those that fall in storms.
I sat patiently, waited, watched,
I lived and learned.

Iíve seen sights you can only imagine,
Iíve lived through fires
That killed many, but I lived!
Scorched, in pain,
But I lived!
I stood through earth shakes
Watched crevasses open
Where none before.

My body shaded fauna, flora.
I witnessed births beneath my branches.
For this, I dropped them
For privacy for mother and child.
I watched this child of life
Slowly rise with the same wonder
Of all young, the puzzlement the wonder.
I watched this small life nurse for the first time.

I witnessed many endings of life.
The acceptance of fate,
The peace within the eyes,
The calmness of peace.
I watched as the life force
Left the body and it sunk slowly
Into the earth cradled for eternity.
I watched as it became one with the earth
Leaving behind nothing but wisps of hair blowing in the breezes.

Iíve watched the influx of the two footed ones
Iíve seen their young Run around my trunk
Try to span me with their young arms and fingers.
Iíve survived while others around me fell to the axes.
Iíve listened to the creak of wagon wheels
Give way to noisy, noxious fumes of motors.
From my topmost branches, I see their homes, their villages.
Iíve seen them come and go, but life goes on.

Every year I grew
From childhood to adolescence,
From adolescence to maturity,
From maturity to old age.
However, I looked forward to the warmth
Of life and the sun.
Each day was an adventure
Each day I heard the glorious voices of birds!

But as I aged, I drooped
From the weight of my own growth.
Now the sun only warms me,
My lifeís fluids, my blood runs slowly.
I grow tired.
One of these days I will be as the other old ones
I will sink into the earth
Shrieking with the pain, in protest as I fall.

But from my death will come life renewed.
New life will spring from my rotting corpse.
I will nourish the earth and the fungi that grow.
My body will be the playground
For the young scampering, playing.
When I become one with the earth
I can rest, sleep, dream

So look at my gnarled body
Think of the years, the millennia lived.
Each of my fingers reach heavenward
Towards the source of life
My hands maybe gnarled,
But my soul is straight and tall.
In my mind I am young and supple,
Age is only outward.

When I leave this life,
When I am lying on the ground,
Sinking into that final sleep,
Donít cry for my loss,
Remember the life Iíve lived.
Rejoice in my renewal.
Think of what Iíve told you,
Remember me with laughter.

Grandfather, I love youÖ

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Reviewed by Donni De-Ville 11/22/2003
Well! This makes so many other poems look as if they have been written by children!! Now I know why I call my poetry 'scribblings', that's all they are, but this is indeed so deep and your mind being able to conjure up all this knowlege, and so flowing too!
I feel as if some time in your company and just listening to you talk, would make me a far wiser person, and certainly more enriched!
I bet nobody has EVER called you boring!!
You have lived many times Claywoman. It is very obvious to me!
I love your spirit, that spirit which has evolved in you!
I almost feel like writing a poem about you, but I could not do you justice. (If you wrote a poem about you, it would be amazing!)
Reviewed by Susan Phillips 11/3/2003
Oh, this is beautiful! You have touched my soul with this poem.

Nuff said.
Reviewed by John Hutchinson 11/3/2003
Outstanding. What a wonderful personal epitaph it would make!
Reviewed by Anna Marie Fritz (Reader) 10/27/2003
What a wonderful story, embedded with the richness and
aura of Native American vibes.
This is a special work of art, Claywoman.
Reviewed by Ch'erie de Perrot 10/9/2003
The Gnarled tree, is a beautiful lesson. Superbly told, and a must if we are to have understanding of the cycle of life. In truth it presents peace, something we all need. Thank you for writing this lesson of life, love, suffering and peace, Clay.

Reviewed by Robin Spicer 9/24/2003
The circle is never broken, within, the Dream dances on.
Thak you, i am awed by your understanding, and humbled by your words.
Reviewed by Carmen Ruggero 9/14/2003
Remember me with laughter. Just what I needed to hear. The images in your words run vividly through my mind. I can see the whole process, the questions and answers that will only repeat themselves as generations pass through this earth. I like the way you illustrate this with the process of nature. When I die, I'd like to think of my life as a tree, leaving behind the seed of growth. I can only hope. Thank you for this, Claywoman.

Reviewed by Lisa Cannons 9/1/2003
Images flow through me.... I remember as a child visiting the Redwood Forest over in your world.... that comes to mind when I read this.. Loved it! awesome write Clay
Reviewed by Denise Nowakowski 9/1/2003
Congratulations, deep, thought provoking, sad. I like it very much.
Reviewed by *********** ********** (Reader) 8/31/2003
Wonderful...Love the images....and I think you give is so much grace with that last line...

Great, really.....Dani
Reviewed by jude forese 8/30/2003
lovely sentiments to an extrememly well crafted poem...
Reviewed by Retta (Reindeer) Mckenzie 8/30/2003
This was so beautiful, and wonderfully told, I loved this, excellent!

Reviewed by Jaclynn Huntington 8/30/2003
A most beautiful reflection on life through the eyes of nature. Worth reading many times over.

Reviewed by Ron (sketchman) Axelson 8/29/2003
He's so right about patience. Incredible write of wisdom. Have a great day tomorrow.....
Reviewed by Lawrance Lux 8/29/2003
The Process of life which is also the process of death. What is the one? What is the other? Tis truly good, my lady. lgl
Reviewed by Lorrieann Russell 8/29/2003
The last stanza hit me hard. I will be scattering ashes on the highest peak in the north east tomorrow. I was asked to say a few words, but could not find what I should say. The last lines are so appropriate to my friend. Thank you, and grandfather for the guidance.

Reviewed by Lady Peg (Reader) 8/29/2003
Beautiful and Powerful write CW!
Reviewed by L M (Reader) 8/29/2003
Allot of Spirit in thes words of wisdom.
Reviewed by Jackie Brooks 8/29/2003
This is beautiful, I have often thought, if only the trees could talk, what stories they could tell. Jackie <> <
Reviewed by john zimmerman 8/29/2003
a fin write
deeply rooted
in the earath and
her wisdom --

good write

Reviewed by Joseph* OneLight*ģ 8/29/2003
So wise and meaningful!

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/29/2003
beautiful and heartfelt write, claywoman; so glad to read you again! :D (((HUGS))) and much love, your texas friend, karen lynn.
Reviewed by Erica Ivory 8/29/2003

When I leave this life,
When I am lying on the ground,
Sinking into that final sleep,
Donít cry for my loss,
Remember the life Iíve lived.
Rejoice in my renewal.
Think of what Iíve told you,
Remember me with laughter.

Yes amazing write.. Could feel love in every word.
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 8/29/2003
An amazing write Claywoman! So warm and heartfelt! I like this a lot!

Sandie Angel a.k.a. May Lu :o)
Reviewed by Leland Waldrip 8/29/2003
A beautiful message of the cycles of life, Claywoman.

Return of the Canoe Societies: Second Edition by Rosemary Patterson

A riveting Literary History and adventure novel that celebrates the cultural resurgence of Coastal First Nations peoples...  
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