A brawl broke out in the forest today,
I was just a bystander and watched with dismay,
While a Birch named Betula started the fussin’
Claiming she was once a goddess and Russian.
The aspens trembled, with fear or with rage,
Or from a chill–I’m unable to gauge;
Their quivers rose up in a great noisy chorus,
And echoed quite loudly throughout the small forest.
Then came a voice from deep in the wood,
“I’d come and shake you if only I could!
For I am most mighty!” proclaimed a great oak,
And there was truth, they concurred, to the words that he spoke.
The willows were weeping (they abhor such dissent)
While from the midst, from a tree, rather gnarly and bent,
Came a shrill little cry from a crabapple tree,
“Stop, would you all! Just listen to me!”
“Can’t we all get along?” she implored plaintively,
“I’m the oldest of all – pay attention to me!
“The Greeks and the Romans planted me all around!
All over the world, my kin can be found!”
An elderly olive spoke up, sounding glum –
“I’m older than ALL, so sorry old chum,
Hate to refute you, oh, really I do!
But I’ve been around far longer than you!”
“What does it matter?” preened a Fir with a sigh,
“Dressed up for Christmas, who’s prettier than I?”
Then came a scornful snort of a sound
Said one, “Ah yes! But they come chop you down,
And drag you inside some drear little dwelling
And what happens next? There’s really no telling!”
“I’m famous in Italy,” a Poplar decreed,
The Mona Lisa was painted on me!
And other great art works as fine as can be!
I’m really quite a dear cherished tree!”
A majestic Elm scorned softly at that,
As though painting on wood were really old hat,
Said “Man came from Ash and woman from me!
There’s no competition, far’s I can see!”
Then from a young sapling, came a wee voice,
“I’m not sure what I’ll be, but if I had a choice
I’d be proud to be like any of you!
For you are all worthy, I know this is true”
And silence fell on the forest once more,
covered with leaves on the great earthen floor,
As out of the mouth of a babe filled with grace,
Truth and honesty put them all back into place.
–Sandra Lee Smith