A seed pressed hard in iron clay
Red and slick like his brow that day.

Awaiting some fire the woods to clear
To free my rise from deep in depths
All the way to way down here.

An ice-filled chest caves in on me
While I lie in wait for air to breathe.

I came so close the light to see,
When the limb from whence I came
Thudded dead, down on me.

So, I bided more until the boy
Made the branch become his toy.

Moss sets in behind my ears,
While the men inter their kin
Born since when I had some years.

The slow lag of a scorching world
Dries my little leaf yet furled.

Now to one side I stretch and strain
The way detours the path to light,
But closer moves me to the spot to gain.

Deer and rabbits nibble my try,
Still, I look aloft to sky.

And now the blade of beauty cuts
Me low near to where I'll never go.
Dreary drips the sap of my deliberate must.

A thousand knots, will dot my grain
But I'll not rot, not yet I pray.

Smells tickle the sweet air surrounding,
Letting me in or nearly, they laugh and
Dance with bubbles from my drowning.

Pecks and feet they trim my head,
Fail they all, that think I'm dead.

Of wood and angles they're sharp and hewn,
Roots of hope on limbs of life stole my
Pain with blood on earth so gladly strewn.

Drink I deep, and live I long, all healed and calm.
From God's Gilead, still flows a balm.

They cut me up and nailed that man
With thorns and stripes, right to my spine.
The clans of all he now commands.

I live despite the sinner's axe
His pain now gone, but still he hacks.

George Henry Plaster, Lebanon, North Carolina. 1998.

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