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The Highest Leaf

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  • The Highest Leaf

    The Highest Leaf

    Atop a twig—if you can see

    the highest twig atop a tree,
    above the rest of those beneath—
    you’ll find the very highest leaf.

    The highest leaf may wonder why
    it lives between the tree and sky—
    with hustle-bustle down below,
    where leaves can rustle when they blow.

    “Oh,” laments the highest leaf,
    “I’m bent in awful, lonely grief.
    The wind may sing, the wind may moan,
    but in the wind, I’m all alone.

    “I’ll never dance a happy jig
    with leaves upon a nearby twig,
    nor join the fairly flappy fray
    when branches bump, by chance, asway…

    “It seems to me a tone unjust—
    I’m blown alone upon a gust,
    or left to wonder what I hear
    when whispers wisp so very near…

    “Somehow, I’m above the loop.
    I would love to join the group.
    “Woe is me—to have to be
    the highest leaf on all the tree.”

    When then, from somewhere down below,
    loudly hails a leaf: “Hello!
    Can any leaf here see what’s true?
    Why I am me, and you are you?”

    Briefly, silence holds the tree,
    as each leaf ponders inwardly…
    and wonders, what, about a leaf, as I,
    helps me see what’s me…and why?

    Then, in language leaves can share,
    tiny voices break the air.
    “I mostly see the ground,” says one,
    “and a bit around, for fun.”

    Another says, “I can’t see much,
    except you twigs and leaves and such.”
    A third says, “I see far, but just one way.
    What’s over there, I just can’t say.”

    Each leaf takes a turn to speak…
    “I see a hill.”
    “I see a creek.”
    “I seldom see the sun to play—
    down here in the shade all day.”

    “I see children on the lawn …”
    “I see early light at dawn.”
    “I see I’m small.”
    “I see I’m big.”
    “I see I’d fall without this twig!”

    And on they tell throughout the day
    as each leaf measures some dismay,
    and darkens on the dusky sky
    until one says, “Alone, am I.”

    The leaves all wonder: Who are you?
    None believes the words ring true.
    Each leaf knows what bonds each leaf
    belies those words—beyond belief.

    “I’m not surprised we’re out of touch;
    I don’t see you leaves too much;
    above all ye…it’s only me,
    the highest leaf upon the tree.

    “I see the creek; I see the hill.
    I may see things you never will,
    but why must I endure the test—
    alone, apart from all the rest?”

    Then, from lower in the tree,
    a leaf responds with certainty:
    “I am here, and you are there—
    a difference each of us can share.

    “There sure is little we can do—
    to make you me or make me you.
    We each present a perfect face—
    alone within our only place.”

    At that, an elder leaf suggests:
    “We can only be our best,
    as time must take its certain toll
    on many things beyond control.”

    Then, from deep within the earth,
    a voice says, “Hey, for what it’s worth,
    I’m just a run, a little shoot—
    a slowly growing middle root—

    “I never, ever see the sun;
    I barely feel the children run.
    Those of you who feel maligned
    might sense the way I feel confined…

    “But I know my vital part;
    here and now, I’m just a start—
    a chance for you to start to grow
    so each of you may truly show

    “a part that I can never know;
    the part that only leaves bestow—
    so all our parts can ever be
    the whole of us—a living tree.”

    “Thank you,” says the highest leaf.
    “Your simple words provide relief.
    I guess I set myself apart—
    and lost connection in my heart.”

    At that, the highest leaf resigns,
    and vows to firmly keep in mind:
    I’ll surely never be alone
    just because I am my own;

    “my part is mine to play along;
    In truth, I’m fine with being wrong—
    to think belonging’s not for me—
    the highest leaf upon the tree.

    JPT3 8/18/20
    Last edited by John P. Turner; 04-18-2021, 06:55 AM.

  • #2
    very nice poem

    Kodi nox
    Last edited by winkybill; 04-25-2021, 03:16 AM.


    • #3
      Thank you, winkybill, and welcome!


      • #4
        John P. Turner What wonderful narrative - beautifully illustrated through nature. Very, very creative John. Kudos on a fine piece!


        • #5
          Thank you, RLW. It's certainly fun to get accolades. I'm going to up my game for more!