When I try to find the inner child in me,
it is your shrouding leaves and purple berries I see.
From hard living and discord of poverty’s gloom
you were my escape, my salve, my healing room,
a refuge– surrogate mother to nurture my wound.
You were the lofty stage for the songs that I crooned,
the neighborhood listening as a matter of routine,
applauding my talent with each song I would sing.
Everyday would not be complete without you in scene,
climbing through your branches, I became your queen.
Oh how fondly I still remember you as I spread my name,
you’re in my stories of climbing I the ladder of fame.
How little I was then, when you invited me in,
to escape turbulence and pacify the rage felt within.
In your fold , my earliest dreams were nourished.
You escorted my daydreams as my imagination flourished.
You were my anchor, my secret home from brutality
of drunken brawls, chaotic lives and melancholic futility.
How well I remember the fall from your twisting branches.
Many years later, the scar reminds me of taking chances.
My most cherished memories belonged to the future,
not whether my wound received a healing suture.
Instead I regale the blissful hours I spent with you,
leaning from higher branches to get a helicopter view,
learning to rise above my context without losing me,
finding the balance- standing tall with smiling humility.
As I nibbled your purple fruit and dreamed of distant places,
drew strength from your sturdy trunk, your open spaces.
You taught me to stand proud and not follow the crowd,
draw your healing power to share and make you proud.
Though you are long gone, you are a fixture in my mind,
lessons I learnt of how to stand firm yet still be kind,
to borrow your resilience in stormy trials and acerbic strife,
copy your composure in the humid weathering of your life.
I took tuition from you to never become static and stuck,
but to believe in changing fortunes and drawing my own luck.
You dusted the chips off my shoulder as you did in the field
where you were a stranger, distinct in your unique yield.
When I recall the grey walls and dim light of childish years,
you are the beacon in my mind’s eye that annulled my fears.
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