The Tree that Decided

They came to the forest, checked another man’s snares,

And then took what they found though it clear was not theirs,

Burned bark from a tree, and their fire it flared,

They’d woken the tree – and its cold judging stare.

The tree that decided the fate of the lot,

It watched and it judged them from its lonely spot,

It looked from the eye in its gnarled old knot,

And it watched and decided ‘til that tree did rot.

So they cooked up the meat that they‘d gone off and stole,

Then got out their tents, and they pitched them with poles.

Their fire was dying: only left was spent coal;

So they doused it with water, and went to bed cold.

The tree that decided the fate of the lot,

It watched and it judged them from its lonely spot,

It looked from the eye in its gnarled old knot,

And it watched and decided ‘til that tree did rot.

The wild wind woke them in a late night storm gale,

The ashes were flying, and the tree branches flailed,

In horror and anger the trespassers wailed.

The tree that decided, break them and prevail!

The tree that decided the fate of the lot,

It watched and it judged them from its lonely spot,

It looked from the eye in its gnarled old knot,

And it watched and decided ‘til that tree did rot.

Into the forest, came a man with an axe,

And toppled the thing in a single swift act.

Broke straight through bark – left the eye un-intact;

The tree that decided, dragged away to a stack.

Now the tree that decided the fate of the lot,

Was ripped from the earth of its lonely old spot.

Punished justly for doing what it knew it should not;

It had watched and decided until it did rot.

Deceivers not punished by what’s brought to a mill,

In life they can steal, and pilfer their fill,

The trees can’t affect them, stuck bound in the till,

But they would if they could, as the most of us will.

The tree that decided the fate of the lot,

It watched and it judged them from its lonely spot,

It looked from the eye in its gnarled old knot,

T’was punished far more severely than those who did not.

A.H.W.

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