Sunday, September 20, 2009

Regal Ego



author’s note:

Though this poem is not based on an actual event, I will still vouch for its veracity.


FALLEN LEAVES

I thank you
for every drop
you’ve squeezed
onto my palm.

When that last tree
began to shed leaves
I thought it was crying--

I believed
I had to gather up
all the tears
to keep the branches
from dying.

And eventually when
they leafed out again
I felt I’d done my duty.

Yet the tree turned away from me
and towards the Spring sun...

But though disappointed
I remained the good soldier
on the humble sojourn
--I continued on...

on through the forest,
looking for a tree
that might need
my knightly service.

But let me tell you,
trees know more than they show
--they knew
    my desire
    to help--

because as I walked by
they all stood
perfectly silent,
not stirring
a limb

and when I was gone
I could tell they breathed
a sigh of relief.

I don’t blame them really.
To accept someone’s
reaching hand
is an awful burden.
To admit you need
healing can feel
shameful.

When I touched their bark
the rising sap beneath
actually seemed
to hiss.

But I remained the dog soldier
on the bumble sojourn,
--I continued on

on

until I found
one tree that
could not even bear
my look, much less
my touch--

I’d known the same sensitivity
in myself--those times when
you realize
you must give up,
must sit down,
must eat
the leaven bread.

Though you assure yourself
by saying,
          “I’m only staying
            for a little while”...
in time, you learn
no one really gets to choose.

Yes, I knew that tree
would have to
relinquish itself--
would have to
obey an in-born will.

So at first, I thought
each drop in my palm
was a tear.
But after tasting their sweetness,
I realized that
following that in-born will
you meant to nourish me
just as I had hoped
--following my regal ego--
to nourish you.

I realized then
that you had secretly
gathered up
all my fallen leaves.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton

earnest audio
new steps

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