Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Trees That Came for a Wedding"

This poem came out of the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette and this photo. It also fills the "rejuvenation" square in my 8-1-15 card for the As You Like It Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles and Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Warning: This poem references World War II and contains melancholy thoughts. Consider your taste and headspace before reading onward.


"The Trees That Came for a Wedding"


You've lived long enough that
all of your friends are dead or gone.

You remember the war --
remember a lot of wars, actually --
and how it tore Poland apart.

You remember a green field
filled with red wooden chairs,
waiting for a wedding in 1939.

The wedding never came
because of the German invasion;
it was abandoned along with the chairs.

So many people died in the war.
So many, many empty seats.

After the war, a few survivors
crept back only find that
most of the seats had been
taken over by trees.

It was said that they were filled
with the souls of the slain,
like Greek dryads of old.

It is a strange rejuvenation.

The leaves of the forest
whisper with unspoken vows.

So every year you return to see
the trees that came for a wedding.

You bring a brush and a can of red paint
to recoat the chairs in memory of those who
never saw their friends walk to the altar.

You speak to the trees in the names of those
who have become earth and air and rain once more.

You've lived long enough that
all of your friends are dead or gone.

Fingertips trail over the seat
of one chair where no tree grows,
but you do not sit down. Not yet.

Soon enough, your time will come
to take your place among them.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, history, nature, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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