The Man and His Tree

The man rejoiced in the tree of spreading limbs
With verdant leaves and golden apples.
He rested in its gentle shadow
Deservedly for all his faithful care.
He reached for one of the golden apples
And bit it, choking on its rotten flesh.
He, worried, but resigned, began to spray
Obsessively until the fruit was good.
And while he sprayed, he watched the wrens escape
His treatment, hovering above the tree.
They were old friends who nested year around
Committed as he was to living well.
And so his life proceeded, never able
To be rid of the rottenness forever,
Enjoying false security in the sweeten times
And suffering doom and gloom in the rotten times.
But there were times he'd see beyond his tree.
Not far away within his reach were fields
Of grape and grain, available freely.
He felt, though, vaguely threatened by the fields.
But even more, beyond these fields he'd see
On days the sunlight pierced the rain a bow
Of dreamy spectrum arching ground to sky,
And he yearned to walk upon its joyous road.
But how could he escape his tree
And how might he refuse its fruit
To trust the unknown uncertainty
Of novel food to walk the færie bow?
Again he looked out over the fertile field.
A cardinal, brilliant red, was picking grain
And straw in the field, then rising on the wind.
It flew beyond the fields towards the spectral bow.
He reached beyond his tree and harvested
Some grapes and grain, discovering their taste
To be refreshingly invigorating
And tantalizingly fulfilling.
So further in the field he harvested.
But bit by bit, the grape and grain diminished
Until he found himself too far to return.
But still the cardinal beckoned him on.
As never before, he struggled to carry on
Through the sparsely growing fields of grape and grain,
Their harvest still the taste of novel chance.
Yet the sight of the cardinal sustained him on.
His tree became a dream and faded to gray.
As step by step, through sun and moon he trekked,
Embraced by uncertainty, nourished by hope.
At last, though thin, he stepped upon the bow.

©2007, John A. Mills