Ode to a Big Tree

upon leaving Virginia for Alabama

Black bags always break before I find out
How much I can carry; so I salute
The slowly swaying, sagging summer boughs.
Pompous birds in their chattering dispute
Find rest as though of mustard you were made.

Blue Ridge mountain thunderstorms give life to
Pre-pubescent grasses; single skinny
Pluckable weeds with clumpy balled-up roots,
Or ripped to the quick, robbed of length and leaf,
Driveway-smashing dreams postponed in your shade.

Heavy hang the branches, never weary,
Never complaining – lord of quiet strength.
Cut me down, my rings are not so many,
But may my heart find fortitude as length
My life attains; to flourish and not fade.

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