Home » Poetry » Poem – our tree lives

Poem – our tree lives

Life events are like rings
on a tree.
Death of your parents.
Graduation from college.
First house.
First car.

They are how we mark time.
They are how we know
we’ve arrived
or survived
or both.

They are how we define ourselves.

We say that this happened
after our grandmother died,
but before we moved
to our new home.

Each ring, each event
adds to us,
strengthens us,
makes us bigger,
and maybe stronger.

Each ring of a tree
is a year,
is a season.

Each ring of a tree
is enough to make it
more resistant
to the injustices
of insects
and fires.

Each ring is also that much
more armor
protecting its
tender heart.

Our rings define us
and limit us.
They say who we are
based on what has happened to us
or what we have done.

Passive and active,
we are shaped
and grown.

This soft spot is a place
that hasn’t healed.
It may become a hole
a space
a void.

This branch is where we made a choice
to separate
to go our own way.

This burl is where we have grown around
and away from
a wound that never healed.

Burls make beautiful bowls
in the hands
of a woodsmith.

Holes make welcome homes for birds.

Branches are great for climbing
and for tree houses.

Our tree lives are ever growing and changing
And ever reaching upwards
While eternally rooting down
Into the past.

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