Seventeen years on you are still young.
Seventeen years I watched you bud, unfurl and shoot your defiance into cruel skies.
Seventeen years, in each, I saw you shrivel, blacken and seem to die.
Drab and dull you were to start,
Unassuming, slow to push your space in the world,
Crowded, dazzled, choked by frothy fashionable Prunus pinking their silliness in your dour face.
But look at them now greyly bleeding away their old age in the shadow of your vigour,
Briefly flaunting faded sameness against your new crisp green.
And even the Great Storm (3 years ago),
Which stripped and tore your limbs,
Couldn't wrench your deep fought roots.
True; you bled. I bled too
watching for three days through distorted panes, the same reflected in you.
And on the third day in the calm you still stood; weak but strong.
Each year now about this time I gently rub the ringed anniversary scar
And, marvelling, trace the hardening growth beyond,
I know that one day, soon, you'll gently and discreetly flower,
To broadcast to the world the little helicopter seeds of your beauty and power.
[This message has been edited by Poertree (edited 01-14-2000).]