Dora Sigerson Shorter

(1866-1918 / Ireland)

The Three Trees


The oak is a brave tree that groweth in the wood—
The oak, and the pine, and the aspen tree—
Strong his mighty timbers, that have the years withstood,
Safe he carries the sailor on the sea,
Through the storm and through the stress of the sea.
The pine in his armour groweth straight and tall,
As he fights in the grapple of the gale.
In his strength all gentle he bends, but will not fall,
High he lifts for the ship her flowing sail,
Strong he holds the fierce plunging of the sail.
But the aspen, the aspen that groweth in the wood,
He quivers and he trembles in the shade.
For mem'ry of a voice that saith the holy rood
From the thick of his bough was formed and made,
From his timber the cruel cross was made.
Oh, I would I were the oak that groweth in his pride—
The oak, and the pine, and the aspen tree,
Shading merry children beneath his branches wide;
Here the outcast is comforted and free,
The weary sleep from all their bondage free.
Oh, I would I were the pine that groweth straight and tall,
He is strong in the grapple of the gale.
Gentle in his strength, he will not bend nor fall,
As he holds to the wind the flowing sail.
How glad the eyes that watch the coming sail!
But I am as the aspen that groweth in the wood,
And shivers and trembles in the shade.
For mem'ry of a voice that saith the holy rood
By such as you was fashioned and was made,
By such as ye the cruel cross was made.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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