Mary Naylor

(12/17/33 / Chicago, Illinois)


She liked to pray by the knotted old tree
On the hill facing the restless sea.
She called it her, “Prayer Tree, ”
Because, she said, “It’s old and gnarled like me.”
Then she blessed herself, and groaning sank to her knees.

She clasped her twisted hands, and asked, “Why?
Why me? I’ve done no evil, or hurt no one.
Why must I go to where there is none
Of the faces or things that I love?
Why is my life almost done? ”

She rose slowly, her bent fingers
Clutching her cane. “Listen, linger, ”
A voice sang. Somewhere hands reach to you with love.
Listen, listen to the voice of the dove,
For it sings a song of heaven above.

“Yes cried the crabbed old one, in a voice
filled with joy. “Rejoice, rejoice,
for I hear the song of the dove!
Why, it’s like a cloudburst of love! ”

The old woman walked slowly away,
From the ancient tree by the bay,
Inside she felt a softness like the wings of a dove.
She sank slowly to her knees,
As it rose within, and flew, free!

Submitted: Monday, January 29, 2007
Edited: Thursday, January 06, 2011

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Comments about this poem (THE PRAYER TREE by Mary Naylor )

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  • Sandra Fowler (4/30/2007 3:56:00 PM)

    The old woman and the tree forever together in this beautiful elegiac effort. This word painting is a 'Mary Naylor' worth hanging in the finest poetry gallery.Take care.

    Warmest regards,

    Sandra (Report) Reply

  • Duncan Wyllie (1/30/2007 4:22:00 PM)

    “Yes cried the crabbed old one, in a voice
    filled with joy. “Rejoice, rejoice,
    for I hear the song of the dove!
    Why, it’s like a cloudburst of love! ”

    Amazingly fine woven words like silk to the eye, beautiful and timeless
    Love duncan X (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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