Poet's Tree

by Antigonus Bearbait (Toby A. Pugh)

No flame, no music fair, no song there is to sing.
No inspiration here yet to be found in me.
The student may have learned, but the teacher has not taught.
No spirit behind the words - poem, tune, and tale for naught.

Wand'ring here, the forest through, with the Winter all around,
I, a weary bard, sat to rest upon the ground.
Beneath the barren oak, 'gainst its gnarled trunk I lay,
And as I sat, began to dream, all around began to fade.

The oak was full, lush and green, and soon music filled my ears,
Such beauty never known -- my eyes, they filled with tears.
In the music I heard words, soon distinct and clear as day,
And as I sat there at the foot, this is what I heard them say.

"Oh, come.  Come to me.  Come and eat of the fruit I bear.
I am the Poet's Tree.  Come and dream in the morning air.
Hush and listen to the Muse.
Soon you'll hear a song ensues.
But be careful what you choose to take away."

'Mid the branches and rustling leaves climbed down a maiden fair,
Her skin was pale as moonlight clear, and midnight shone within her hair.
With her hand extended me, she bad me welcome here,
And with a touch of that gentle hand, soon belayed all of my fears.

"Weary bard, you seek a song, then eat hear of this fruit.
This is the Poet's Tree, who's great and mighty root
Reaches deep into the earth to draw from inspiration pure
Flowing as a river wild to light a flame that shall endure."

I took the fruit into my hands, wanting all I reached for more,
The juice was strong and bittersweet, and I drank as ne'er before.
The quenching thirst, it brought a flame, and now my soul within me burned
With stories, songs, and poems new, and still the words to me returned.


Lovers fair, and heroes brave, epic sagas and family lines
All of these I saw and heard in swirling colors and dancing rhymes.
Through my pen the Spirit flowed -- songs of love and tales of pain.
Bereft of passion nevermore, still it came like gentle rain.

Soon the day turned into night, and then to day once more.
And though I wrote the whole night through, still it came as ancient lore.
No food or drink did I dare take, the days and nights they became as one.
The flame that warmed, it now consumed, and my work barely begun.

I wept for songs ne'er to be sung, and for tales that would never be,
In swirling tempests all around, then I woke beneath the tree.
It was Winter as before, but now my soul within me burned.
The songs and tales I'd learned were mine, and still the words to me returned: