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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.


Ne'r 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 !





part two







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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