A Chinese Banyan rooted in the small backyard
of Mom’s new house in Hilo. I assayed what
needed to be done around her yard that first year.
With certainty of youth, I heartlessly informed
her that the Chinese Banyan had to be cut down
and taken out, or it would take over everything.
I could have pointed out the massive Banyans
growing above flood control channels on the edge
of town. I could have mentioned the Banyan with
the circumference of a city block in old Lahaina.
I could have reminded her of the flourishing Banyans
planted by Mainland celebrities along Banyan Drive.
She was sad when I told her we had to cut down
the Chinese Banyan. With hope and certainty of
youth, I could have told her yes, it has to go, but we
will plant two trees in its place – trees appropriate
for your backyard. I didn’t, though. Now that action
seems utterly clear as a solution for a lover of trees.
With growing certainty, she realized that I would
be bringing disappointments and heartbreak like
this to her year after year. First, there’s this tree.
Go ahead, cut it down – but I don’t want to know
anything more about it. She may have said, Plan on
returning home to your father. It will be a bit early.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
April 23, 2012
I relied on Maureen Thorson’s prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 22, “Write a poem about a plant” as my inspiration for this poem. Read her blogpost here:
Press on with YOUR writing! Andy
Oh, my goodness, you’re on a roll, Andy! This poem is amazing. Those repetitions of “I could have” and “With hope of youth” build momentum and tension–all the way to the breaking point at the end, where, even more powerfully, you give your mother the last word: and that word is devastating. Very powerful poem.
Jennifer, you are so kind – thank you, thank you. I’m grateful for your visits to my blog and for all of your comments.
I think this 30 poems in 30 days exercise may be providing me a
deeper and richer source of material than I normally have access to!
I loved your “Heart as a Pocket” poem, and it’s one of my favorites. That’s powerful!
I’m hoping to give that prompt a try, too!
Blessings to you and yours, Andy