The Ironwood Tree|
Near the top of the mountain where little resides,
Where winds lash the craggy rock, back, front, and sides,
Where frigid cold gnaws everything one can see,
Lives the toughest, most gnarled, most beautiful tree.
It's here that I've spent days to claw to the top,
In hopes of a stray branch, or one I could chop.
For if I could get this old soldier to yield,
I'd be able to craft an unbreakable shield.
I took a step forward, packed snow crunched underfoot,
She was smaller than average, hues of lichens and soot.
Her bark looked like armor carved of sinewy steel,
I reached out and touched it, to confirm it was real.
I found a small branch, and with one reverent stroke,
With one clanging crack my best axe-blade broke.
I tried and I failed for the rest of the night,
Till a furious storm blew in, flinging cold ice.
I hunkered beside the tree under a tarp,
Looking up, she was coated in icicles sharp.
I couldn't bear leaving her branches exposed,
So I draped my tarp overhead, covering both.
The next morning I woke to a glittering sight,
Ice sparkled and danced in the rising sunlight.
I felt weight in my lap, and looked down in surprise,
A small branch from the tree, given freely - my prize.