Nagoya Writes

May 19, 2008

Aren’t Cherry trees by Albert Sussler

Filed under: Issue: 2008,Poetry,Sussler — usbengoshi @ 11:56 am

Aren’t Cherry trees
things of beauty,
poems of soft pink petals,
makers of shade.
blockers of wind
Between the beach,
and the bamboo hills
A piece of land
west side stand
two beautiful cherry trees,
by the senior center.

With beams and posts
we built our house
two trees stood firm
no branch disturbed
when our house was finished
we stood and gazed beside
a blaze of blossom pink.

Life goes on
my children grow tall
but the trees grow taller.
Over the years people pass
some show kindness
some show apathy
Some show subtle hostility

One winter day,
not but a few sleeps past,
cutting sounds hit my ears
Looking out to see
the two cherry tree
branch by branch
being amputated.

Gardener!
What do you do with
these cherry trees
I am cutting them down.’

Seeing concern in my eyes
a limbless trunk
He comes climbing down

Several village elders
sit inside the senior’s center
One I knew the Kocho

He says to me
Was it  not you, who asked
to have them cut down.
No I cry. it was not I
How could anyone destroy such splendor.

the gardener stops his blade
the rest of the day
stands quiet those two trees..
An old woman passed
gives thanks for stopping the slash.

I tell my children, the cherry trees lost limbs today.
so old women, won’t need to sweep
for no leaves fall from limbless trees.

a granny has been telling neighbors,
‘it was that gaijin who wanted the cherry trees down.’

Next morning voices gather
twenty members strong
seniors all
they have come to cut the cherry down.

Saw against branches
the blade runs though
I shout, Yameru.

The old woman growled, ‘
They drop leaves don’t you see,
that one must sweep.
They harbors bugs that are a mess
no tree is best.

My mind reflects,
some old folks lose hair
some have lice,
following your words
are they to be cut down too

The head of the Seniors group declares,
the trees must go,
for at our meeting it was decided.

Tears ran down my cheeks
I shook with rage.
What logic is this…
Decided

Yet something changed.
Like a break in the rain
darkness recedes .
my view has taken hold.
for destruction has ceased

The granny’s voice breaks the silence
‘We’ll be  back  to finish what
should have been done this
day.’

How long the trees stand
next to our house I dare not say.
I pray their chance once again

To reach for the sun.
to spread their branches
to shade our lives.
Aren’t Cherry trees
things of beauty,
poems of soft pink petals,
makers of shade.
blockers of wind.

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