The tree that saved your life

the tree that saved your life
was not the oak that sheltered you
from withering heat

was not the pine
whose dry cones
and brittle bark
gave you kindling
for a fire
on that black,
aching night

the tree that saved your life
was not even the Douglas Fir
that seemed to call to you
one summer evening,
commanding you to
see wonder in all things

no, the tree that saved your life
dug its roots into rock
and by those roots
held itself upright above a gorge
calm and ageless
still and certain

impossible you said
how life makes life go on
until all going is gone

impossible how in any crag
life will set up shop
hold on for dear life
while i -- sodden with my own
private miseries --
ponder letting go

so you did as commanded:
you wondered -- at the sheer force
the desire to be
the knuckled roots determined, steady
content within their gnarled will
their unshakable embrace
holding to their eternal task

you looked awhile
then you knelt by the tree
and thanked it and
it spoke to you (in its way)

and at that moment you dug in --
your roots went down
into the rock of your life
further and more firmly each day

your branches spread
your head went more certainly
toward the Sun

and you pressed forward
to contain
to express
to share and shelter
to be
as much as that tree

and that's how
in that moment
by that tree
your life was saved.

--Mr. Gobley


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

This rang powerfully for me; I've been inspired by trees since childhood.

You know, a Christian could make a lot out of the title.

Flying Cat said...

I've missed you Mr. Gobley. Do you mind if I highlight this in my blog? I love trees too...we need them to breathe.