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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

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