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the pain that paralysed me at once
made all sensation vanish
all motion stop
and imprisoned my soul

from a body that is half dead
no perception of the surround
won't feel the grass on the field
nor kick the soccer ball

numbed from the hurt
anesthetized from the pain
useless dead legs
now carried in a wheelchair

I need to feel something
anything is better than this nothing
worse than feeling pain
is not feeling at all

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The Last Word

What must a man do, when the world fails him-
Lest, he believe that the same, assails him?
For shame world that hath 'tread on me'!
Thou should have counted instead, on me!

The last word shall be mine, this I assure thee;
I shan't allow this injustice now before me!
I shall do what my heart tells me I must-
Because, in this, and only this, I lay my trust!

This scourge, lo, this cancer
Demands a swift answer;
I should not have to feel inferior-
As though the 'system's' motives are ulterior!
A price need be paid, and a lesson, learned!
This is my inherent right, not just what I have earned!

Maurice Harris,3 March 2010

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Show them equal love.

Love and benevolence
That you pour on your children
Are not sure to ensure you returns.
A little crack in evenness of distribution,
Inevitably made at different times
According to your justifications,
Will make them alienated from you.
You get alienated from the affected.
You end up with an orphan look.
To hate alike is better than to love not alike
13.07.2001, Pkd

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In Praise Of Looking It All In The Eye

They say, -Leave the past behind,
If you want to re-invent the future,
Don't be too enamoured of your 'story'.

But I say, -Honor past trauma,
Cry all the tears it warrants,
Take note of the softness of heart
It imparts.

When the time is ripe, only,
Your will thank it and leave.

(Here is where it becomes hard:
You hover, almost gone,
Wondering it you have
Left something behind.)

Take your time...
No necessity to
Step desperately into your future
Join it seamlessly
To your old story.

Appreciatively hear
Your old, low notes.
They are beautiful too
As is sweetest falsetto.

Your new dream you'll create
After honoring your past
And discovering the demons,
They work for you!

See them as angels
With the most terrible

(Metaphorically speaking,
In your story)

And you wouldn't be reading
This thoughtfully
If you were not about to
Step into the Captain's chair,
Understanding you are also co-author
Of your Star Trek episode
(Where no man has gone before!)

Your experience is Sacred.
Otherwise, in calmest mood,
Not encumbered by pain or fear
You would not have
Chosen this vehicle,
This embryo,
To enter.

Holding on to the past too long
Is falling into an abyss!
But walking away from the past too soon
Means its
Will unwisely, be missed.

So give your lessons due diligence
Don't jump ship, leaving 'Incompletes',

Then graduate,

'Sadder but Wiser'.

This is the ground for
Planting joy,
That does not shift,
Despite how the winds
Of Fortune
May drift.

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The ecstasy

(after John Donne)

From the start although it had been
great ecstasy and our loving
had been better than anything and we were keen,
we had a deep understanding

and although it were at times gentle and powerfully severe,
the fun and joy and moment’s bliss was unperplex
while nothing did with the loving interfere,
we both knew that it had been much greater than just sex

while our hands, fingers and bodies did intertwine
and for long moments
in all things, in intimacy you were mine;
there were some elements

of a different thing
of a principle, of love a greater understanding.

[Reference: “The ecstasy” by John Donne.]

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The Pain That You Went Through

As I think of my past
Tears start to run down my eyes
And this is a memory that will never go away but it will last
Of the things I did to you guys

I remember as sometimes I would come to your rooms at night
And I would talk to you about what you did that day
And how I would hug you so tight
Before I would turn out light and we would pray

I miss the sound of your each of your voices
This hurts me because of all the pain that I caused the both of you
Sometimes we make the wrong choices
And how I can now feel the pain that you went through

There are times when I should know what I needed to do
Especially when I knew that you wanted to talk to me and you waited by the phone
Because I knew that all you wanted to say is daddy we love you
This hurts me because s I felt like I left the both of you feeling alone

So please forgive me in the things that I have done
And I want us to be pals again and for the both of you see
That I am proud of the both of my sons
And all I want is us to be is a family

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Walt Whitman

The City Dead-House

BY the City Dead-House, by the gate,
As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor,
I curious pause--for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead prostitute
Her corpse they deposit unclaim'd--it lies on the damp brick
The divine woman, her body--I see the Body--I look on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty--all else I notice not;
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors
morbific impress me;
But the house alone--that wondrous house--that delicate fair house--
that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwellings ever built!
Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure surmounted--or
all the old high-spired cathedrals; 10
That little house alone, more than them all--poor, desperate house!
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul!
Unclaim'd, avoided house! take one breath from my tremulous lips;
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you,
Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crumbled! crush'd!
House of life--erewhile talking and laughing--but ah, poor house!
dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnish'd house--but dead, dead, dead.

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The Pain That Its Inside Of Me

Aggravation builds up in me.
Everybody telling me No You cant do it
Maybe they are right
Maybe I cant do it
The complexity is too much.
Should I just quit ahead of time?
Tears stinging my eyes
Yet they are where nobody can see them
Frustration taunts me
Even in my dreams
The dreams are so vivid
I dont know where to go
Or what to do
I have completely lost what was left inside of me

There wasnt much
But now there is not even a speck.
I try to keep my head up
But the impact knocks me down
I cant smile without something to remind me of the past
The future, The past, and The present hits me all at once
Too much to think about
So much to do
So little time
How can I do it?

ts pain put together in a triple threat.
I cant cry
It shows too much weakness
I have to show that I am strong
Even when I am not
But it looks as if I am failing.
I am to far down
I cant get back up
Not even the Lord himself could bring me up
I ask that you not be daunt
I dont ask for your pity
Or your self judgement
I cant take the pain that you bring
You load it up on me like I am a train
I cant grasp the stress in the palm of my hand and just toss it
No it stays with me
Every where I go
Everything I do its right there
Haunting me.
Is this only the birth of the on coming stress
How can I do this

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To The Irish Dead

’TIS a green isle set in a silver water,
A fairy isle where the shamrock grows.
Land of Legend, the Dream-Queen’s daughter—
Out of the Fairies’ hands She rose.
They touched Her harp with a tender sighing,
A spirit-song from a world afar,
They touched Her heart with a fire undying
To fight and follow Her battle-star.
Too long, too long thro’ the grey years growing
Feud and faction have swept between
The Thistledown and the red Rose blowing
And the three-fold leaf of the Shamrock green;
But the seal of blood, ye shall break it never:
With rifles grounded and bare of head
We drink to the dead who live forever
A silent toast—To the Irish dead!

’Tis an Irish cheer on the hillside ringing,
Where, checked and broken, the vanguards reel,
But on and upward and forward swinging,
The glittering line of the Irish steel!
Like points of light ’mid the boulders lying
Gleam and redden their bayonets keen.
On, thro’ the hell of their dead and dying,
Forward, forward, the Shamrock green!

To Ireland, set in the silver water,
To the fighting blood that is proved and tried—
Our sharpest sword and our fairest daughter—
Who saved the Empire and turned the tide!
And Wisdom comes as the days grow older,
We are done with the faults of the past, I ween,
Standing together, shoulder to shoulder,
The Thistle, the Rose, and the Shamrock green!

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The Seductress

all her life, by men she had been put down
she tried so much to smile, but could only frown.
she was beautiful, but men could not see
'that she had a rare quality'.

they took advantage, because she was soft spoken
and her heart was always broken.
she decided that a profession she must seek
and that she must reach the highest peak.

she decided a teacher she would become.
in her mind: ' better than her, there was none'.

she graduated with the highest marks
and in the best school she got her start.
and at the age of twenty two
she had done all that she could do.

then when the new term started,
she became open hearted.
she started to teach her students
one on one, and found herself under the gun.

in her class, a fourteen year old arrived
and she started to visualize
his eyes so blue, his hair so black
from her teaching, it did distract.

the more she taught, the more she fought
all the pent up feelings inside
to the point that she did'nt hide.
she started to get closer to him
knowing that she was commiting a sin.

he responded like any young teenage boy would do
and told her: i want to get closer to you.
she let him touch her pounding breast
and from there you could imagine the rest.

soon it spread throughout the school
that she had broken the golden rule.

then the school board found it out
and the public became aware
that with a minor she could not share
all the things that she learned in life.
she got pregnant and became his wife.

his parents she did know
but to jail she did go.
now that she's out, and has child number two
he does' nt know just what to do.

but he had gotten his education
and that may be his salvation

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Not Here to Play The Dozen's

Is there a light on in your attic?
Obviously not.
There is nothing dimming at all in your head.
At least give me eye contact,
So I feel as if something said is being heard,
And shared.

You ignoring me,
Is a favor done you wont believe.
I don't have to put up with your ignorance.
Or tolerate disrespect from no one.
In fact,
Give me more distance.

I live in this community.
And I am familiar with the neighborhood.
What happens here and what folks do to themselves,
May be entertaining to you.
And I could care less if you disagree with me.
But you folks have been programmed,
To invite your own unexpected deaths.

I have integrity and some dignity left,
That has of yet been taken.
And I have identity.
Of that you have none.
My comprehending of that has long been numbed.
To the point it is no longer heartbreaking.
Nor am I one to fake unity!
It aint happenin'.
And if it is I'd like to know where?

But let me say this...
To get this over with quick.
You can act as if I am invisible,
If that helps you pretend I do not exist.
Do not 'think' I have to put up with your 'stupidity'
Because others get a kick out of it!

I am not into self destruction.
Or folks who make excuses to self abuse themselves.
And I know you don't understand this,
Because your mama didn't teach you.
And your father refuses to be a man.
And I know you don't understand 'that'.
Nor am I here to play the 'dozen's with you.
Truth I do not play with!

Too many of you have been pitched the taste for truth.
But you'd rather do a genocide on yourselves,
Better than 'the man' can!
And your ignorance has been addicted to keep that focused.
But nothing done I do is a mirage.
I'm here to snap your ass awake.
Don't get that messed up with your sugared cookies.

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But for the grace of God! !

Suspiciously she stands and stares
at every passing strangers face.
She is convinced that no one cares,
the world to her a hostile place.

She has no place to call her own,
nowhere to rest her weary head.
She has to face the world alone
and each new day she views with dread.

She was brave enough to defy
the marriage plans her parents had.
To wed her to an older guy
a man much older than her dad.

Now outcast from her family.
she does not know who she can trust.
Though she’s determined to be free,
not subject to an old mans lust..

If she is lucky she will find
place of safety she can stay
with other girls of her own kind.
For freedom there’s a price to pay.

Although in truth there should not be.
Custom and practice still prevail
in Asian society.
I tell an all too frequent tale.

Although some do integrate
There has to a be a few of course
who cannot appreciate
they must obey this country’s laws.

Forced marriages amount to rape.
A blatant form of child abuse.
A fate from which some do escape
if they are brave enough to choose.

To leave behind the life they’ve known.
Its not an easy thing to do
and face the future on their own
For freedom their entitled to.

Support themselves as best they can.
They sell big Issue Magazine
and are dependent on no man.
Perhaps you pass them by unseen.

Consider this, it might have been
a choice which you were forced to make.
So buy a copy don’t be mean
and smile at her for pity’s sake.

You will not miss a pound or two.
Your smile makes all the difference.
The smile that she receives from you
is better than indifference.

She’s not a beggar seeking alms.
Although some people take that view.
The very sight of her alarms
the prejudiced uncaring few.

But for Gods grace it could be you.
By circumstances driven to
desperate measure just to live.
So lighten up and gladly give.


http: //

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The Death of Poverty

He was born like that
He was born into poverty
And his parent spoke it religiously to his ears
That this chain must be broken
Broken by work, work and nothing but hard work

His parent worked till their dying day
Only to still remain in chain
Fetters fatter and more stubborn with age
With determination he set out in rage
Bearing the pain, shame, hunger, and inhumanity
That the rich dream must become reality

Now, he is old, looking at then and now
The faded colour of poverty still painted today
And it will surely coat tomorrow
In this thought he was lost
Not knowing when he wandered to the edge
The neighbourhood of the dark one in black hood
He was seized by the neck and ceased

His orphaned son decided to be himself unlike his father
Or his strict grandparent of no par
The best singing couple our church ever had
But an ability self labeled vice they never shared
Not even among factory brethren with whom they worked hard

The orphaned son took to the pun shop
His father’s sacred baseball kit
In exchange for his love, his passion-
A guitar

Always under the oak tree the orphan sat
Harmonizing the strings
Using his father’s words as a song:
Of how he was the best bat man in town
But the game he loved so much
He had to quit
For it was but a lure
Away from his purposeful journey
In the combat to kill poverty”

As the orphan sang, playing guitar one day
Soaring in the clouds of rhythm
A Cadillac had since stopped by
The occupant arrayed in fine fabric
Nodding with misty eyes
Wondering why a talent as this
Should waste away
He resolved in his heart to take him away

The orphan is no longer with us
In the reality of his dead fathers
But he now lives in their dream
Where the bed is neat and soft
Allowing only dreams that are sweet
In a place where the bread is fresh
And the meat is tender

We see the orphan now mostly on television
In a life that was his fathers’ vision
Of when the fetters of poverty would be broken
But he never did despite backbreaking work
But the orphan did it
Not by profuse sweat
Rather by love and passion
In sharing with others his GOD given mission
Of how to harmonize strings
And breathing rhythm from his vocal cord

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The Three Friends

The sword slew one in deadly strife ;
One perished by the bowl ;
The third lies self-slain by the knife ;
For three the bells may toll—
I loved her better than my life,
And better than my soul.

Aye, father ! hast thou come at last ?
'Tis somewhat late to pray ;
Life's crimson tides are ebbing fast,
They drain my soul away ;
Mine eyes with film are overcast,
The lights are waning grey.

This curl from her bright head I shore,
And this her hands gave mine ;
See, one is stained with purple gore,
And one with poison'd wine ;
Give these to her when all is o'er—
How serpent-like they twine !

We three were brethren in arms,
And sworn companions we ;
We held this motto, 'Whoso harms
The one shall harm the three !'
Till, matchless for her subtle charms,
Beloved of each was she.

(These two were slain that I might kiss
Her sweet mouth. I did well ;
I said, 'There is no greater bliss
For those in heaven that dwell' ;
I lost her ; then I said, 'There is
No fiercer pang in hell !')

We have upheld each other's rights,
Shared purse, and borrow'd blade ;
Have stricken side by side in fights ;
And side by side have prayed
In churches. We were Christian knights,
And she a Christian maid.

We met at sunrise, he and I,
My comrade—'twas agreed
The steel our quarrel first should try,
The poison should succeed ;
For two of three were doom'd to die,
And one was doomed to bleed.

We buckled to the doubtful fray,
At first, with some remorse ;
But he who must be slain—or slay,
Soon strikes with vengeful force.
He fell ; I left him where he lay,
Among the trampled gorse.

Did passion warp my heart and head
To madness ? And, if so,
Can madness palliate bloodshed ?—
It may be—I shall know
When God shall gather up the dead
From where the four winds blow.

We met at sunset, he and I
My second comrade true ;
Two cups with wine were brimming high,
And one was drugg'd—we knew
Not which, nor sought we to descry ;
Our choice by lot we drew.

And there I sat with him to sup :
I heard him blithely speak
Of bygone days—the fatal cup
Forgotten seem'd—his cheek
Was ruddy : father, raise me up,
My voice is waxing weak.

We drank ; his lips turned livid white,
His cheeks grew leaden ash ;
He reel'd—I heard his temples smite
The threshold with a crash !
And from his hand, in shivers bright,
I saw the goblet flash.

The morrow dawn'd with fragrance rare,
The May-breeze, from the west,
Just fann'd the sleepy olives, where
She heard and I confess'd ;
My hair entangled with her hair,
Her breast strained to my breast.

On the dread verge of endless gloom
My soul recalls that hour ;
Skies languishing with balm of bloom,
And fields aflame with flower ;
And slow caresses that consume,
And kisses that devour.

Ah ! now with storm the day seems rife,
My dull ears catch the roll
Of thunder, and the far sea strife,
On beach and bar and shoal—
I loved her better than my life,
And better than my soul.

She fled ! I cannot prove her guilt,
Nor would I an I could ;
See, life for life is fairly spilt !
And blood is shed for blood ;
Her white hands neither touched the hilt,
Nor yet the potion brew'd.

Aye ! turn me from the sickly south,
Towards the gusty north ;
The fruits of sin are dust and drouth,
The end of crime is wrath—
The lips that pressed her rose-like mouth
Are choked with blood-red froth.

Then dig the grave-pit deep and wide,
Three graves thrown into one,
And lay three corpses side by side,
And tell their tale to none ;
But bring her back in all her pride
To see what she hath done.

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The Politics of Narrative: Why I Am A Poet

Jill's a good kid who's had some tough luck. But that's
another story. It's a day when the smell of fish from Tib's hash
house is so strong you could build a garage on it. We are sit-
ting in Izzy's where Carl has just built us a couple of solid
highballs. He's okay, Carl is, if you don't count his Roamin'
Hands and Rushin' Fingers. Then again, that should be the
only trouble we have in this life. Anyway, Jill says, "Why
don't you tell about it? Nobody ever gets the poet's point of
view." I don't know, maybe she's right. Jill's just a kid, but
she's been around; she knows what's what.
So, I tell Jill, we are at Izzy's just like now when he
comes in. And the first thing I notice is his hair, which has
been Vitalis-ed into submission. But, honey, it won't work,
and it gives him a kind of rumpled your-boudoir-or-mine look.
I don't know why I noticed that before I noticed his face.
Maybe it was just the highballs doing the looking. Anyway,
then I see his face, and I'm telling you--I'm telling Jill--this is
a masterpiece of a face.
But--and this is the god's own truth--I'm tired of
beauty. Really. I know, given all that happened, this must
sound kind of funny, but it made me tired just to look at him.
That's how beautiful he was, and how much he spelled T-R-
O-U-B-L-E. So I threw him back. I mean, I didn't say it, I say
to Jill, with my mouth. But I said it with my eyes and my
shoulders. I said it with my heart. I said, Honey, I'm throwing
you back. And looking back, that was the worst, I mean, the
worst thing--bar none--that I could have done, because it
drew him like horseshit draws flies. I mean, he didn't walk
over and say, "Hello, girls; hey, you with the dark hair, your
indifference draws me like horseshit draws flies."
But he said it with his eyes. And then he smiled. And
that smile was a gas station on a dark night. And as wearying
as all the rest of it. I am many things, but dumb isn't one of
them. And here is where I say to Jill, "I just can't go on." I
mean, how we get from the smile into the bedroom, how it all
happens, and what all happens, just bores me. I am a concep-
tual storyteller. In fact, I'm a conceptual liver. I prefer the
cookbook to the actual meal. Feeling bores me. That's why I
write poetry. In poetry you just give the instructions to the
reader and say, "Reader, you go on from here." And what I like
about poetry is its readers, because those are giving people. I
mean, those are people you can trust to get the job done. They
pull their own weight. If I had to have someone at my back in
a dark alley, I'd want it to be a poetry reader. They're not like
some people, who maybe do it right if you tell them, "Put this
foot down, and now put that one in front of the other, button
your coat, wipe your nose."
So, really, I do it for the readers who work hard and, I
feel, deserve something better than they're used to getting. I
do it for the working stiff. And I write for people, like myself,
who are just tired of the trickle-down theory where some-
body spends pages and pages on some fat book where every-
thing including the draperies, which happen to be burnt orange,
are described, and, further, are some metaphor for something.
And this whole boggy waste trickles down to the reader in the
form of a little burp of feeling. God, I hate prose. I think the
average reader likes ideas.
"A sentence, unlike a line, is not a station of the cross." I
said this to the poet Mark Strand. I said, "I could not stand to
write prose; I could not stand to have to write things like 'the
draperies were burnt orange and the carpet was brown.'" And
he said, "You could do it if that's all you did, if that was the
beginning and the end of your novel." So please, don't ask me
for a little trail of bread crumbs to get from the smile to the
bedroom, and from the bedroom to the death at the end, al-
though you can ask me a lot about death. That's all I like, the
very beginning and the very end. I haven't got the stomach for
the rest of it.
I don't think many people do. But, like me, they're either
too afraid or too polite to say so. That's why the movies are
such a disaster. Now there's a form of popular culture that
doesn't have a clue. Movies should be five minutes long. You
should go in, see a couple of shots, maybe a room with orange
draperies and a rug. A voice-over would say, "I'm having a
hard time getting Raoul from the hotel room into the eleva-
tor." And, bang, that's the end. The lights come on, everybody
walks out full of sympathy because this is a shared experi-
ence. Everybody in that theater knows how hard it is to get
Raoul from the hotel room into the elevator. Everyone has had
to do boring, dogged work. Everyone has lived a life that
seems to inflict every vivid moment the smears, finger-
ings, and pawings of plot and feeling. Everyone has lived un-
der this oppression. In other words, everyone has had to eat
shit--day after day, the endless meals they didn't want, those
dark, half-gelatinous lakes of gravy that lay on the plate like
an ugly rug and that wrinkled clump of reddish-orange roast
beef that looks like it was dropped onto your plate from a
great height. God what a horror: getting Raoul into the ele-
And that's why I write poetry. In poetry, you don't do
that kind of work.

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The Pain That Words Can Do

Words can stay
like a birthmark
or a scar

Things that you say
things that you do
they work around the mind
like a mouse in a maze

Think before you speak
never underestimate
the pain that words can do

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The Pain That You Feel

The pain that you feel,

But can’t touch.

A pain you know of,

But can’t explain

A pain so fierce

You go insane

The unknown pain

That clutches your heart

And burns in your soul

The pain

In your life

Too strong to carry on

The unknown pain

That clouds your mind

And devours your every thought

The pain of broken promises

Broken dreams

The pain

That’s unheard of

The pain that's

Not seen

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The Truth Is Always For Free! !

To shine forth through the dark with your love,
To shine forth the rain with my love,
To shine forth through the wind with your muse,
And like all the rivers that flow into the seas;
So, teach me only righteous things and,
I will follow you.
Come and touch my heart with your love,
Come and change my heart with your care,
Come and lead me on with the peace of your mind;
For, the truth is always for free! !
And, i need you to guide me on along this narrow path.

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In Memoriam A. H. H.: 44. How fares it with the happy dead?

How fares it with the happy dead?
For here the man is more and more;
But he forgets the days before
God shut the doorways of his head.
The days have vanish'd, tone and tint,
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense
Gives out at times (he knows not whence)
A little flash, a mystic hint;
And in the long harmonious years
(If Death so taste Lethean springs),
May some dim touch of earthly things
Surprise thee ranging with thy peers.

If such a dreamy touch should fall,
O turn thee round, resolve the doubt;
My guardian angel will speak out
In that high place, and tell thee all.

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The Old Dead Tree

The old dead tree stood
gnarled weather torn;
its limbs were now brittle.
What stories could it tell
of the centuries it had lived,
the passing lives it had seen,
and the storms it had weathered
when it was young and strong.
When its foliage was green
and gave shelter from the rain.
Now it stands bare and broken,
a sorry sight to be seen.
It must have been beautiful
when it was young
with its canopy of green,
and a nesting place for little birds
among its evergreen.
Now they only used it
as a resting place whenever they pass by.
The old dead tree,
which had seen so much life.

17 September 2008

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