A prose poem letter to a friend comparing the passage of time to the life of a tree.
|Epistle to Gastón|
'the tree of graduation'
I sit beneath this leaning elm and write to you, mon cher Gastón. For thirty years from now,
this tree that now embraces me will be long gone. Somehow that seems quite fitting.
Thirty years ago this tree was younger, as was I. Did I notice it back then, when in full splendor it stood along the path I strode? No more than you will see the beauty in its withered form today.
I sit, so I'll not stumble, as these words fall out upon this page. I know you'll think about this tree again come thirty years, when memories of graduation slide slowly down this hill and past the place where other trees will dwell.
But not this elm, whose branches even now appear a parody of youth grown weary. Its limbs shed strips like old snakeskin, no longer needed. Yet flickers make their nests in rotting holes. It serves some purpose still.
Each year its leaves grow thinner. And if not hewn to an untimely death, assuredly some Spring it will stand leafless. No shade will cool its rootlets then and it will be deader than the death it now embraces, a life lived well but without flower.
I ponder now beneath this tree, what memory to gift to you upon your graduation day.
© Kåre Enga
19 mai 2005
Catalogue number: [162.145]
Author's notes: written for Gastón Araoz, of La Paz, Bolivia, who graduated from the University of Kansas, May 2005.
Note to reviewers:
This is poetry. It is a vignette. It is also an epistle, a letter, written to someone. A prose poem may have a bit of a narrative, but uses poetic devices: rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, image, etc. It is neither a short story nor flash fiction. It needs to be rated as poetry first. If you feel it is prose, please comment. The line between the two is murky . Also comment whether you think it is best in this form or in letter, prose form. I would prefer prose form. Which do you?