The Branch

For dVerse OLN 201 – one poem of our choice with any subject and the prompt at Real Toads – we are to write about things unseen.   I chose this picture I took last winter after a tremendous wind and snow storm.  The branch transfixed me then, it still does.

The Branch
I know this branch.
When last I saw it,
several small wrens were perched
upon it, settled among the
golden autumn leaves.

A drizzle of rain made
some delicate drips
and a light wind caused it
to gently sway.
The wrens rode the branch
like small sea birds drifting
on a peaceful sea of black wood.
Torn from the tulip poplar
the skeletal branch
pokes up through the snow,
carried by wind and snow
it ends up in this place
in my yard.

Now, it lies in my yard
encased in frozen snow.
When the snow melts and
I clean my yard,
I will take this branch and
move it to the verge
of the woods that border my yard.
I will lay it down gently on
the fallen leaves and pine needles.
Through time, ants will traverse its length,
tiny frogs will sit by its hugeness
blending in with brown leaves –
Their eyes round and shiny,
their tongues reaching out to
feast on small bugs moving about
the ground and on the branch.
A small spider will spin a web
catching gnats and no-see-ems.
On his way up from the creek
a small green snake will curve its way
sliding under the branch, going
about its green snake business.
The box turtle that explores my garden
and that small patch of woods
will make its slow sure way
under the branch.
The branch will rise and fall and slide
along the turtle’s back and
settle back onto the ground,
maybe at a slightly different angle.
Dew and rain will fall,
small birds will perch on
its fragile fingers.
Beetles, slugs, worms –
all will burrow beneath
and crawl upon it.
Time will pass and the wood
inside the black bark will begin
to rot and turn to dust.
On the ground, the black bark
of the branch will lie discarded
like the skin of an ancient snake.

I will be old.
I will make my deliberate painful way
across my yard.
There I will see the
remains of the bark.
I will, with effort
bend over and touch the bark
with my finger.
I will remember the day
I put it there.
I will say
to the trees around me,
I know this branch.

copyright kanzensakura

44 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria C. Slotto
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 20:48:28

    A wonderful story of a life, as I read it. Its youth, hosting wrens, and its slow journey to becoming one with earth. Not sure I will ever look at a branch the same way again. I like the idea of a personal relationship with nature. I talk to my garden when I care for it.


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 10, 2017 @ 21:11:43

      I am not surprised to hear that Victoria. I keep up a running commentary with my trees, the birds, my garden, the sky, the rain…all of it. Inside I am mostly silent but outside, I turn into a chatterbox. I fell in love with that branch, truly. I could only see the parts that poked out. When the snow melted, I discovered it was larger than I originally thought. But it is resting on the verge and sleeping.


  2. Sherry Blue Sky
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 20:54:36

    This is extremely beautiful and moving. I love it!


  3. Audrey Howitt
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 21:23:06

    a wonderful cycle of life–each of these stanzas paints a wonderful picture


  4. Isadora Gruye
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 22:38:46

    You certainly bring the branch and your photo to life here. the unseen crawl and march and dance. Thanks so much for posting to the Out of Standard!


  5. kaykuala (@hankkaykuala)
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 23:37:46

    I will lay it down gently on
    the fallen leaves and pine needles.

    It is such a noble thought to give pride of place to it. It is a pity though the wrens would have to look for another perch!



  6. oldegg
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 23:41:02

    Life’s journey happening all around to everything we see including ourselves. What a magnificent poem this is Kansensakura.


  7. Jane Dougherty
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 03:50:31

    You make getting old seem almost worth it 🙂 What a lovely way to create memories.


  8. kim881
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 04:24:05

    Anything to do with trees, leaves and branches is right up my street, Toni. I love the way you follow the story of the branch. I especially enjoyed the lines:
    ‘The wrens rode the branch
    like small sea birds drifting
    on a peaceful sea of black wood’;
    ‘a small green snake will curve its way
    sliding under the branch, going
    about its green snake business’;
    ‘On the ground, the black bark
    of the branch will lie discarded
    like the skin of an ancient snake’.
    I feel like I know this branch too.


  9. whippetwisdom
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 07:28:51

    A beautiful poem and tribute to a branch falling off the family tree 💜


  10. Grace
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 08:19:25

    Beautiful and moving story ~ The passage of life of the tree/branch and the seasonal changes that we go through, resonated with me Toni ~


  11. georgeplace2013
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 11:55:49

    Beautiful. I love this life of the branch and the ending “I will remember the day
    I put it there.
    I will say
    to the trees around me,
    I know this branch.’ is perfection.


  12. Carrie Van Horn
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 12:47:26

    So much beauty in these lines of life….i love this lovely poem Kanzen Sakura!


  13. Sanaa Rizvi (@rizvi_sanaa)
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 13:03:39

    Such a wonderful cycle of life .. especially love; “I will remember the day I put it there. I will say to the trees around me, I know this branch.” Beautifully penned.


  14. Sue Anderson
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 15:29:57

    Simply wonderful. My favorite so far today.


  15. Frank Hubeny
    Aug 11, 2017 @ 22:16:45

    I liked the remembrance of the branch years later.


  16. Just Barry
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 00:44:35

    This is so beautiful and peaceful. I loved the slow, gliding pace, wondering through the passages of time. Oh how wondrous a picture of aging gracefully and senescence you paint!


  17. coalblack
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 12:14:00

    Wow, you really brought one simple branch to vivid life, reminding us of the adage that nothing in nature is ever wasted. The frog, the turtle, all of them were right there; your simple descriptions showed why it isn’t necessary to write a book when a line will do to bring a subject to life. That’s poetry

    This is Fireblossom, by the way, in my Word Press clothes. I had to write to Kerry to find out which blog was yours. I appreciate the several wonderful remarks you have left at my Word Garden. Now that I know where to find you, I’ll certainly be back!


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 12, 2017 @ 15:42:20

      Thank you Shay. I love your poetry. I am also on staff and post regularly at dVerse Poets Pub. Well, lately I haven’t been too active but am getting back into the swing of things. Sometimes I get behind in my commenting but I always catch up. I enjoy reading what others have written. I love the pics of yourself on your Blogger account in the background. Thank you for your kindness. And now I know what both clothings you wear!


  18. Magaly Guerrero
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 12:19:33

    I can smell the snow, see the insects that will play at living around the branch, I can see the speaker bending over to pick it up… This is a glorious trip.


  19. Mary (tqhousecat)
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 15:20:37

    Brautiful and thoughtful. Everything living has a purposeful life. Noting wasted.


  20. alisonhankinson
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 15:27:05

    This broke my heart. “I will say
    to the trees around me,
    I know this branch.”
    We have come home to spend time with loved ones, my mother in law is 88 and unable to get out into her garden anymore, she watches the rabbit who has made his home there wistfully and she knows every tree and every branch she just cannot get out to tend them.


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 12, 2017 @ 15:28:53

      That is so sad. But I imagine that rabbit does give her some joy. My mother enjoyed watching the birds and did so faithfully. I always made sure the feeders were full.


  21. Helen L Dehner
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 18:15:06

    Not only do I ‘speak’ to the trees, I speak to butterflies and deer. (my family just shakes their heads ….) Loved your poem.


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 12, 2017 @ 19:10:30

      I basically live in trees. My husband is so good about it. He also knows I have conversations with the deer, the raccoons, the bunnies…the flowers. He gave up on me a long time ago, LOL.


  22. mother wintermoon
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 20:42:57

    The cycle of life so beautifully expressed. What a blessing it is to know a tree.


  23. Kerry
    Aug 13, 2017 @ 07:09:04

    You saw so much, the potential, but also the place of things in nature, how they fit beside each other and a person, too, has her place. This is a poem to open a window of the mind.


  24. lillian
    Aug 13, 2017 @ 15:57:08

    Oh Toni. You have outdone yourself on this one. It is truly beautiful. I love the description of the wrens swaying on the branch. The description is delicately masterful throughout. And then the shift in voice to I makes me understand even more, the agining of nature, the slow movement through the youth, to the old, to the decaying. This is exquisite.


  25. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Aug 14, 2017 @ 23:19:56

    What a wonderful journey!


  26. Sean Michael
    Sep 12, 2017 @ 13:05:13

    Hmm, the things we take for granted, right? The things that seem so insignificant, and what a role they play.


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