An old pine counseled a sapling
“Be patient. Do not fret.
Your limbs will grow, your buds will sprout,
Your trunk will form a thick redoubt.
In time you’ll grasp what it’s about,
And pain of youth forget.”

The reedy sapling, full of fire
Said to the ancient pine so proud,
“Don’t counsel me to bide my time!
I have a fearsome urge to climb!”
And stretching like a columbine,
He strove to touch the clouds.

“Split not your bark,” the adult said,
Don’t strain to garner height or girth.
All that will come when it shall come.”
The sapling said, “My fibers thrum;
To gravity I’ll ne’er succumb
My roots ache to escape!”

They countered thus for decades long
The old tree and the neophyte
‘neath skies resplendent bright or gray
And never their own stance betrayed.
Both lived until a ripe old age
And both were in the right.

–Jim Meskimen