Friday, February 19, 2010

Hard Hearted (a 55)

The big oak tree in the garden has stood for more than 400 years.
It has a secret life.
When people appear not to be looking at its ever-changing face, it dances.
It whirls like a dervish. It waltzes with the wind.
It rides the earth like a horse.
I will never tell its secret.
(This is a Friday Flash 55, a tale told in 55 words. Want to play? Go see the G-man.)


Ancient oak
Naked and gnarly
Whispers in the fog
I know everything and nothing
Will I tell you, human

Centuries old
Smelled the signing of the Declaration
Heard the guns of Fort Sumter
Saw the last dead Indian rise
As spirit from Flanders Fields

Hard wood
Hard of heart wood
Quercus alba just like me
White Oak rises in the dawn
Wringing its hands at the sky

Survivor of drought
Of the year it rained
42 inches and flood washed
Away the bridge between
Here and there, as usual

Home to moth
Field of plenty
To the woodpecker and squirrel
Rent by lightning but unmoved
Great mother of the acorn infant

Glows golden
In the setting sun
Lit by some strange inner light
I know everything and nothing
Will I tell you, human…


Hootin' Anni said...

I love, love, LOVE this. You really put a tale into this mighty oak!! Secrets. Excellent. But, if you listen closely as it dances with the may hear a story or two. Be real quiet.

TIGER TEARS is my 55 this week.

Shadow said...

what an image!!!!! love it.

Anonymous said...

You are incredibly imaginative, and this is further proof.


the walking man said...

Cleverly wrought verse Just Chris. i think the old oak simply got tired of trying to human anything because we never listen.

Brian Miller said...

nice i love ganarly old trees...and the thought of one having a secret life dancing...pretty cool. nice 55.

Dulce said...

WOW this is a lovely tribute to a loving tree... Lucky those who can share their secrets!

Great one

Scott said...

ahhhh I love that :-)

Madison said...

California is kind of unique in its protection of trees. In other states, they're plowed down like nuisances - in the path of progress. Your writing is beautiful.

Sherry said...

I love your nature inspired writing!


Anonymous said...

If only limbs could speak, imagine the tales they could tell. Beautiful words, stunning always.

I'm up here:

Friday Flash 55 ~ Know

Mrsupole said...

The first picture looks like blood veins that are in our bodies and we need for life. Your poetry about the life of an oak truly goes with the pictures. One is the inside of an oak and it's inner life and the other is the outside and it's outer life.

This truly makes one think of all the things a majestic oak has seen in it's lifetime. It is truly a shame when one is cut down or dies.

God bless.

TechnoBabe said...

Oh to have such strength and history.

Woman in a Window said...

I love this, to consider, the history that it spans. Love it riding the earth as horse. So powerful.

I can't imagine how sage it must be, how patient. I'd not be able to be a tree as such but rather I'd be a cattail, short and quickly turned to fluff after only one season. I don't have the patience to be 400 years!


Kim A. said...

Oh!! I just love this. You bring it to life in so many ways. I am a tree lover and this is why...they have secrets...

Happy Friday!


RNSANE said...

This is such a wonderful poem of love and admiration for a tree that bears your blog name. Your description is so vivid and I can see your tree, over the centuries, bearing witness to so much. People come and go, California history changes, and this oak gives shade, feeds the squirrels, survives drought, earthquakes, and stands serene through it all.

Anonymous said...

I love trees Oaks in particular. And nothing will I tell come on tree! Just a little somethin'?

Buzzard said...

Thank you for these strong words on the wisdom found in Oaks.

Dianne said...

Love the light play on the two photos.
dear one

Magpie said...

I love you 55...very nice.
"it waltzes with the wind" lovely.

The photos blow me away. They hold such energy and movement...I can hear the acorns kerplunking to the ground.

Her Big Sad said...

I LOVE THIS - so many things this tree has seen....

Shoshana said...

I love the imagery here:

~It whirls like a dervish. It waltzes with the wind.
It rides the earth like a horse.~


Syd said...

I love the live oaks here. We have Quercus virginiana. Angel Oak is the largest and one of the oldest known oaks. It is located near the island on which we live.

One of the visions that I see every day are the oaks that line the long lanes going to homes. These were planted over a hundred years ago on the plantations and today these are stately trees that form a canopy over the dirt lanes. Hung with Spanish moss, this makes a wonderful scene.

Monkey Man said...

Trees can so inspire. I love what you have written....both of them. Wish I could remember the names of my old tree posts to share with you. Oh well. Look them up if you wish of just visit my 55 which is HERE . Come see what's up.

LadyFi said...

This is exactly what I think when I see old trees and think of all the history they've witnessed.

Great words and golden photos.

Nezzy said...

Thanks, this Ozarks farm chick has never met an oak with so much character.

From the hills and holler of the Missori Ponderosa, ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day!!!

quilly said...

The Secret Life of Trees -- if only they all shared their stories!

lakeviewer said...

Oaks and redwoods have alot to teach us, or simply inspire.

Poetikat said...

Very spiritual, Chris. I like that, "Will I tell you, human" refrain.


Gabriella Moonlight said...

Ok so I'll say it, this is amazing, Oak trees I grew up with always inspired me with their ancient wisdoms and secrets and their love of little birds and creatures fierce and joyful.

I to this day believe that the fae folk prefer to inhabit oak trees for their love, strength and roots.

xo Gabi

Lou said...

I'm a tree hugger too!

G-Man said...

All from a tiny acorn!
Loved your 55 Chris.
And your Ode ROCKED!!!
Thank you so much for sharing your awesome talent with us all today.
It's always something very special!
Have a Kick Ass Week-End..G-Daddy!

hope said...

I love trees! And this one is so are the words you chose!

I have an ancient pecan tree in front of my 126 farm house. The man next door, who lived here as a child, says it's always been that big and is probably 200 years old. Ironically, I sometimes look at that old gal and wonder, "What have you seen? Who sat beneath your branches or swung from your limbs?"

From one tree person to another, THANK YOU!