He stands there still

He stands there still After all these years, With aches and pains, His tears, sapped out, Old weathered limbs, Mossy yearnings Carved in his heart. He witnessed Old Man John tend his sheep Grazing through the spring-lit meadow While John's dog chased off the fox. He saw John's daughter fight off their neighbor's son One night after a slow love song. He saw her give in, one morning, after dawn As the sun began to warm the night's cool breath He saw tear drops swelling on the grassy field Behind the grove by John's old barn. One day, he heard her cry out He wanted to help, to soothe, to pray He wanted to hold and say that it would all land in its place, That he would return one day Because people always come back to where they belong. Even from way back. That her baby girl would grow up to know her father That he would teach her to tend Old Man John's flock. But words failed him. So he just stood there and waited, arms outstretched, For her to lean, to rest her weary head And when she did, he shielded her eyes from the blinding sun He softened her ache, He welcomed her hands clawing circles in the dirt. Tracing dark shadows into his roots. ​The witness tree. © 2017, laura balladur, all rights reserved