The Miracle Tree - Poem by Bob LazzarAtwood
The Miracle Tree
They fought the fire valiantly for days and weeks on end
With the help of crews from all across the state,
But record-setting temperatures and strong, persistent winds,
Conspired to drive them back and seal their fate.
So they took what they could carry from their tiny mountain town,
And sought refuge in the city far below,
Where they waited and they wondered as the news came drifting down
If the fire would leave them anyplace to go.
Then the fall brought cooler weather and the rains at last returned,
And the fire was finally managed and contained,
Leaving just a blackened record on the earth where it had burned
And a scar on all the lives that it had changed.
On the first day of December all the barricades came down
And the mountain people cheered the happy news,
The governor made plans to lead a visit to their town
And the local stations sent their camera crews.
In a line of chartered buses they crept up the winding road,
Singing songs to calm their nerves and pass the time,
But they noticed that the trees which looked so healthy down below,
Were slowly growing darker as they climbed.
When they finally reached the top there was a silence all around,
As their eyes surveyed the damage to their homes,
Which were left like burned out carcasses in heaps upon the ground,
Charred timbers sticking out like broken bones.
And it stunned them for a moment, caused a blackout in their brains,
And they stood there as if under someone‘s spell,
For it wasn‘t just their homes that had been taken by the flames,
It felt like all their dreams had burned as well.
Just then somebody spotted it, a vibrant patch of green
Through a grove of dark and fire-ravaged trees,
And thankful for some purpose people hurried to the scene,
Hoping to escape their misery.
What they found, to their amazement, was a tall and healthy pine,
That miraculously had managed to survive,
Its lower limbs were burned and there were blisters on it’s spine
But it otherwise was very much alive.
It defied all explanation, couldn’t possibly be true,
And yet somehow there it stood for all to see;
Though the fire had claimed their homes and blackened everything in view,
It had failed to claim this one courageous tree.
Even the governor was speechless, not a blip upon the wire,
As he stood there, open-mouthed, and simply stared,
And a seed of hope was planted and it spread just like the fire,
Through the hearts and minds of everybody there..
Then a child began “Oh Christmas Tree” and everyone joined in,
And their voices rose up joyously and loud,
And they sang and laughed and danced until the moon began to grin,
And the sun fell fast asleep beneath the clouds.
On Christmas Eve the mountain people gathered by the tree,
And adorned it with some holiday attire,
And they sang some Christmas songs and they repledged their unity,
Which had grown profoundly deeper since the fire.
And it took a couple years but all their homes were resurrected,
With the help of many friends and volunteers,
And they built a park around the tree to honor and protect it
Which attracts a million visitors each year.
Even now, a lifetime later, folks still gather at the park
To embrace the season’s warmth each Christmas Eve,
And to celebrate the miracle that pulled them from the dark,
And the tree that gave them reason to believe.
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