An excerpt from my novel, American Dream. The character Daniel remembers his mother:
“If he could go back in time to when Mother was a child and protect her invisibly throughout her life, he was sure that he would do it. He tried to compose a poem for her during the long ride back.
Let me be a tree.
Let me be the locust tree
her dear hands clasp as a child
where she looks up
as if I were her eternity
And give me a coat of ribbed tree bark
for her to carve her ABC’s.
Let me be a thousand locust blossoms
to perfume her walk in spring
but keep her from the poison seeds
that scatter where she plays.
Or let me be the maple tree
her strong hands tap in spring
and the flowing golden syrup in her glass
then shed the crimson leaves
to line her walk in autumn.
Yes, let me be a tree.
But let me not be hacked into logs
not planed smooth and drowned in stains
not cut by rough hands.
Or if it must be
then let me be the welcome table
laid lovingly with bread by her dear hands.
Let me not fall into disuse, be discarded or burned.
Or if it must be
then let me be the fine smooth boards
that line the coffin where she lays her head
as a final resting place.
Yes, let me be a tree.”
-J.J.Brown 2012, American Dream
3 responses to “For Mothers Day – Let Me Be a Tree”
If I was a tree and had to be repurposed I’d wish to be the noble calling of storyteller to capture thoughts for the ages on printed pages. Yes, let me be a tree. Thank you for this poem, one of my favorites you’ve written (and there so many wonderful ones in your poetry collection Natural Supernatural Love). Thank you for being our storyteller. Happy Mother’s Day!
Great poem Jennifer. Inspiration can come from so many sources: people, feelings, future possibilities, and innumerable others. Most of my favorite prose I’ve found, is of that derived from past reflection, which for me possesses the most emotional impact. I was immediately reminded of the most heartbreaking scene I’ve ever watched when in Wings of the dove, Merton ruminates and says, “I wish I had wings of the dove so I could fly away.”
A beautiful hymn also has these words, oh for the wings of a dove, far away would I roam…it’s very pretty. Thank you for sharing this reference here Michael and your comments.