The Old Willow.

Yards from my house an old willow tree stands, watching.
A tree wiser than I am, and older by many years.
It has looked on quietly, watching as I grew.

It looked down on me when I first visited its home in the park,
A small girl who wanted lollies shaped like rockets,
Rides on her uncle Charlie’s scooter, flip flops and lucozade.

It looked on as I rode out proudly on a skewbald beach pony,
Or pulled a trolley full of books, towels, swimsuits and kites,
Walking silently next to my mother on the way to the beach.

It shared my happiness as I moved into my little old house,
A house I had told my mother I would never never choose,
And smiled to see me there, just out of reach, no longer a visitor.

It watched as I sat on the grass beneath it, learning lines for a play
With someone who opened up my heart and allowed me to love
And it saw me walk past aimlessly, blindly, when he was gone.

It took my hand as I scribbled notes for reports in the summer sun,
And made plans for school plays, treats, trips and holidays,
Rushing at life eagerly, like a new leaf unfurling.

It winced, sharing my pain as I faced loss, confusion and grief
And it sheltered me while I found new strength and purpose
In holding onto the lead of the most beautiful dog who has ever crossed its path.

Now it stands beside me as I keep on keeping on,
Clinging to what little wisdom the years have brought.
It has no words and none are needed.

It has seen out many hot summers and frozen winters
With the same impassive grace.
It endures and it understands.


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