Tree, Arbor Day

I'll never forget you...

The Hawthorn Tree

It rained on that April day

when I dug your grave.

I forced deep the shovel

while trying to be brave.


The shovel blade struck rocks,

I squatted down to pry.

My whole body convulsed

as I began to cry.


I clenched my teeth and fists

and leaned back in the rain,

hoping that somehow

it would wash away my pain.


I continued to dig

despite the many rocks,

until the hole could contain

your new wooden box.


My wife joined my side

and we lowered your box down.

Our only consolation?

Your eternal crown.


Before we buried you

we talked about your life.

Before you were my dog

you belonged to my wife.


She picked you from the litter

and gave you your name.

Potty-trained with a bell,

you thought it was a game.


We played many games:

wrestle, chase, tug-of-war, fetch.

“Toss the toy high”

was always a challenge to catch.


We’d take rides in the truck

and sneak a midnight snack.

How many Sunday naps?

I don’t know, I’ve lost track.


Age sneaked up on you

It was hard to get around…

we finished your service

and patted down the mound.


I stood there in the rain

with my hat in my hand

and gazed beyond the clouds

to that far distant land.


That land over the rainbow

where the skies are blue

and the dreams that I dream

are about me and you.


Our troubles will all melt

just like those lemon drops

in that far distant land

over the chimney tops.


Now six days later

I’m digging another hole.

This time to support life,

not to bury a soul.


Today’s Arbor Day

and as you can surely see,

for your headstone,

we’re planting you a hawthorn tree.


Its blossoms, in the spring,

will sing a happy song.

Its green leaves will wave,

in the summer, all day long.


And in winter’s bleakness

when time slows down the clocks,

its berries will nourish

the foraging bird flocks.


Now my heart is empty

with nothing left inside,

save a hawthorn shoot

that I pray will turn the tide.


With water and time

this tree will grow to full size.

With patience and peace

the tears will dry from my eyes.


I hope one day

happy and full my heart will be,

like the bellies of the birds…

in your hawthorn tree.

Dominic "Flominic" Farrenkopf

Song reference-"Over The Rainbow" 

By: Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg