My mom gave me a notebook she had found of mine from 1988. It was the year I went to Europe and the notebook had all sort of plans and itineraries. Also was a poem i had written and completely forgotten about. It is really probably one of my better ones. It is called ‘Royal Oak Remembrances.”

“Of all the trees in my yard,

I never climbed the Royal Oak

She, who dared too much

the only love I could not win.”

Trees in my yard were child’s play.

But her first branch and inch from my grasp.

No matter how I grunted or grew.

Even the weight of winter, couldn’t bend her arms to me.

Every morning her nails clicked my window,

and snagged me out of bed with hope.

But by every evening her fortress withstood

all the tires and boards I could pile.

Only the birds or a misguided squirrel

Could sing from the islands from her alpine mint sea.

A song whose words I did not hear,

Music I could only pretend to know.

In Autumn when auburn tears

left her barren and alone.

She, in courage, and beauty greater than evergreens

kept the pain of the seasons locked deep in her rooted cellar.

Like her branches, Life is never held,

only adored from a distance.

And Death’s, A tree that none can climb,

This was the greatest thing she taught me.

My father saw me cry,

when my painful lesson learned.

So he took me beside the Royal Oak,

“See, she is old and still lives.”

“Let her remind you,

of far outstretched years,

You have much time left

before both of you touch Heaven.”

I am older.

The only limbs I bend now are my own.

But I remember my father’s words

And knowing she is alive is death to my Fear.

Today, my own son cried,

when he found a tree he could not climb.

So I took him to see my Royal Oak

to play the part of my Dad.

But I learned she had been cut down

Her heart ground into toothpicks.

I guess she couldn’t guard me forever

For now, I live in a new backyard.

How I wished I had climbed you,

the way in my soul you had climbed me.

And planted your seeds in my darkness

and buried your leaves in my eyes.

Now when I hear the birds sing

their songs seem off key

for she held the music together

with my childish dream to live forever.

“Of all the trees in my yard,

I never climbed the Royal Oak.

She who dared too much,

the only love I could not win.”

ro

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