THE BARREN TREE

 

 

(For Jon)

 

 

 

Close by the gates of Brendon

a vision came to me,

a vision of such ugliness;

a barren runt of a Tree.

 

 

Ner was a thing so useless;

what could its purpose be

amid such rampant beauty

as this stunted excuse for a Tree ?

 

 

Yet while amid the dancing day

in the vital push of spring,

I could not take my eyes away

from the goddamned ugly thing.

 

 

I questioned it for hours,

until the Sun was low;

and so sorry for that Tree I felt,

but why... I did not know.

 

 

But when I questioned of the Tree

I had to search myself

for whose was then the poverty

 and whose was then the wealth.

 

 

The Tree (it was a mocking tree),

and I did give a sigh;

the goddamned thing had beaten me,

and I did not know why !

 

 

Hard by the gates at Brendon

a boy sat down to drink,

and there a useless ugly Tree

did teach a boy to think.

 

 

Of which then is more useless,

a moorland Rowan Tree,

or a mind thus not engaged in thought

where thoughts are supposed to be ?

 

 

I laughed and laughed as Sun went down

behind the Rowan Tree,

for I learned the greatest lesson;

the useless runt... was me.

 

 

And before that day was over

(a coincidence no doubt)

from this world I was thus taken,

to where Paradise is laid out.

 

 

But hark, a word of warning,

for where learning thus begins

there follows many a dark night

before reason also sings.

 

 

 

 

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