Sunday, April 3, 2011

"My Tree"



I can’t recall when I first slid under the fallen tree branches. I do remember a gentle breeze lifting my hair as I gazed at the early yellow-green buds on the roughened tree limbs. The tree, once tall and majestic, had split down its center trunk back in the winder. Layers of ice had encased every twig and branch within cold hardness and weighed the tree down until it ripped in two. During the winter months, the tree appeared barren. Desolate. Dead. But with the coming of warmer weather, the tree resurrected itself.
                I remember sitting in the soft spring sunshine and running my hand along the splintered scar where the trunk had split. Tree sap coated the exposed whitened flesh. Like blood, it felt sticky and wet. Later, it hardened into glossy amber, a scab on the trunk. The tree healed itself.
                I remember shinnying along one side of the halved trunk, scratching the bark away on the smaller branches and seeing with delight the green under bark. Life. The buds, little bumpy caterpillar legs on each thin twig, felt like Braille messages under my fingertips. I longed to decipher this code of rebirth.
                Days slipped by unnoticed by my childish concept of time. The dense green canopy evolved. It changed as life unfurled its sails into the warming scented winds. The long, lazy summer days found me beneath the sheltering tree branches, hidden from prying sibling eyes and the cacophony of friends at play. The grass under the branches receded, and I eventually wore a hollow into a patch of loamy earth where I played for hours. The musty aromas of summer wafted through the air, filtering through the interwoven leaves along with the soundless sunlight.
                I quietly nestled among those protective branches, a bird in its next, and lazily spent my days lost in Nancy Drew mysteries while the world rushed on around me. The tree cradled me in dapples of cool shadow and darts of warm sunshine. This green haven cocooned me within its tranquility.

Copyright 1995 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman




“The Tree”

Once
            Tall and Majestic
Then
            Split and Torn
                        by
                                    layers of ice—
                                                cold hardness
                        weighing
            ripping
killing
Then
            Resurrection   
                        Sap healing the whitened flesh
                                    a glossy amber
                                                green under bark
                                                            Birds—
                                                                        Caterpillar legs
                        And a hidden message of
                                    Life
                        a secret code of
                                    Rebirth
Then
            Evolution
                        Life unfurling its sails
                                    into warm scented winds
                        Sheltering me
                                    in a canopy of green
                        Interwoven leaves
                                    Nestling me
                                    within soundless sunlight
                        Cradling me
                                    in dapples of shadow
                                    and darts of sunshine 
                        Cocooning me
                                    within
                                            Tranquility


Copyright 1995 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

This prose and poetry pair modeled for my students the fact that both types of writing rely upon the same elements. I often encouraged my students to take their reflective prose pieces and convert them into poetry.

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