The Torrent and the Tree by Linda Drattell

The Torrent and the Tree
by Linda Drattell 

Why does it struggle so?
Its branches tremble and shiver 
against that which will inevitably
overcome it.

The biting rain flogs its leaves, 
the raw wind mauls its branches. 
The irate river, pulsing and rupturing the embankment, 
whips up slumbering silt and loosens the hold of its roots.
Lawless rapids sweep around it triumphantly, 
dragging the tree to a slow prostrate death.

Yet it resists 
as if sheer will can repel the forces which 
assault it.
A few extra minutes of life, worth the agony.
The tree twists and twines with a pluck it did not know it possessed,
its impaled soul refuses the sweet death that beckons.

It seems to know why it is there.
Its defiant arms are streaked with rugged lines 
from splintering cracks,
its trunk scarred with raw nubs 
where young branches fanning budding leaves 
once grasped the sky. 

As it sinks to the will of the aggressor,
the trembling forest bears witness, 
it is the tree which has overcome the torrential waters.

Its measure, 
Now resting in long-overdue quietude, 
gazes gratefully at Heaven
for not even Death can erase 
those precious defiant moments
it spent on Earth. 

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A short fiction story and two poems of mine have been published, including The Torrent and the Tree (Prompt for the Planet); another poem will be published later this year with Wingless Dreamer. I’ve been deafened since my thirties, and have had to relearn to navigate social, professional, and family relationships; I’ve chronicled this process in my nonfiction writings, which have been published in an anthology, newsletters and magazines, and am a member of the board of directors of the California Communications Access Foundation. I am a long-distance runner and an avid horse lover. I hold an MBA from the American University and am a member of both the California Writers Club/Tri-Valley Writers Branch and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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