By David De Jong

Patriarch of the grove, standing tall,
Stately on the hill, in view of all.
Persuading the sun from nightly rest,
Embracing her warmth, beyond the crest.

Though life has left you, you hold it still,
From fur’ed chatter, to downy quill.
Your crown so inviting, sharing peace,
All shed of calloused skin, soft as fleece.
You hold the owl in wisdom’s reach,
Echo his calling of midnight’s screech.
The hawks and eagles cherish your loft,
Matching your grace and visiting oft.
Myriads of feather, sing your praise,
Closer to heaven, their anthems raise.

Scars of sacrifice, show their toll,
Given so freely, a saintly soul.
You pulled the lightning from storms that brewed,
Coaxed the beaver, whittled what he chewed.
Relentless winds are calling your name,
Cutting your breath and attempting shame.
As you clasp the air and hold its view,
It penetrates your heart, through and through.
Weaker from the age of seasoned time,
Your branches ring in a ghostly chime.

While ethereal blows claim their tokens,
Your freedom speaks with words unspoken.

5 thoughts on “Cottonwood

  1. I used to live among the cottonwoods. They continue to follow my trail, or perhaps I still follow theirs. They are their own community, gathering as they do to wash their feet in the streams of the west. Their purposes are many, their pulpits soggy or arid, depending on the state of their clime, but they persevere regardless. Great poem, David.

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