Preface: I’ve been meaning to share this poetry for a while. My Dad wrote this poem. To say that he grew up “without” is an understatement. But he pulled himself up by the boot straps and made a success of his life when he started his own business. He gave people a chance at jobs that no one else would, and he treated them with dignity and grace. When he was a boy an accident damaged his eyesight, his medical solution available was laying in the sunshine to help ease the pain. Later in life, I learned how extensive the damage was, and I never heard him complain…..ever! He was kind, a voracious reader, and among so many talents he wrote poetry. After an encounter with someone who wasn’t so kind, a passive bully, he wrote this poem. I wish I could thank them for their actions, because it caused my Dad to write one of his best poems. He helped so many people!
A Common TreeI burst from the earth in eighteen forty-three, And cried to the world, “It’s me! I’m free!” A host of trees turned toward me to see. As a chorus of voices cried, “Just another common tree!” I looked about to see of whom they spoke. And cried with joy, “I’m of the mighty oak.” Again like thunder; their rage I had awoke. The wind carried the unanimous answer, “What a joke!” I was silent for years perhaps eight or nine. If I wasn’t an oak then maybe a pine. I had heard they were tall with foliage so fine. But deep inside I knew I wasn’t from their line. I was different from others in a strange sort of way. Maybe it was true! The things they did say. But from my hope I refused to sway. For surely I was more than a common shade. The builders finally came and did their thinning job. And many who scoffed at me now cried to God. For few were left standing on the bare open sod. I remember their falling and how they did sob. The oaks were cut for their fine hard wood. The pine though tall, fell where they stood. Many others would have stayed if only they could. The choice was the builders, he left what he would. Why was I left? But I knew not their design, Why me and not the oak or the tall pine. Perhaps they reasoned I was not on their line. And again they may cut me even in time. The houses were built, the roads were cut and paved. Many years have passed and many storms have raged. I know now why I was left… now that I have aged. Yet, only a common tree…… I cast a mighty shade! J.W.O.