Friday, November 14, 2014

Falling Branches

Falling Branches

I hear them falling  as I walk;
Old dry limbs, worn and weathered
Taking that last long tumble, crashing
Down through the green canopy,
Shattering against the Earth
To be gathered up as firewood
Or kindling for the long winter
That we may sit and remember by the fire.

Sometimes it is the wind,
Sometimes they fall in a perfect silences
For no apparent cause;
The end of long careers aloft
Support for ratty nests of squirrels
Or the neat dwellings of warblers,  
Providing shade for aged couples
And dogs strolling below.

Long and useful lives spent,
The branches withhold their secrets;
Mute witnesses to what goes on below
Over which they provide
Cover from the sun,
Blunting of the rain,
Handholds for climbing boys
And soft whispers in the treetops.

As autumn deepens into winter
They fall faster and still faster
Leaving the heights above
To their younger brethren
Old soldiers dying one by one
Their secrets left unshared
Their deeds on our behalf remembered
For but a time by winter firelight

by Tom King

1 comment:

  1. The ending was inspired by the increasing numbers of WWII soldiers we are losing to age. Brave men all. My wife took care of a lot of veterans in our inter-generational day hab program. She heard stories that none of their families had ever heard. Stories of incredible hardship, horror and bravery. She always said she was privileged to hear their stories. They seemed to need to tell them to someone before they left this world. Their stories left me awe-inspired.