Ash and Eucalyptus,
Chinese Elm and common Plum;
Bark of generations built from
Lansing, Bell and Livingston.
Each spring will see them waken
To their pulsing blood-red sap,
And set upon their outstretched hand
A small and fragile promise
To the wind and to the sky
That dreams of long dead leaves
Can live again and never truly die.
To trust there will be warmth again.
To trust there will be birth.
To trust that fallen leaves
Are not forgotten on the earth.
I never knew my father
And yet I've come to know him well
Through the stories writ in crumbled leaves
And the tales our old tree tells.
He was a soldier, and a poet,
And a lover and a man
And I feel his passion flood my veins
As I hold his phantom hand.
Mary S. Van Deusen