Oak Trees on Fourth Street


Oak Trees on Fourth Street

Oak Trees on Fourth Street

By Tom King

My brother and I were never much attached

To earth; remorseless clay that never grieves

To catch our bones should ever we descend

The warm red earth enfolding fallen leaves.


When I was young we climbed the oaks out back

My mother couldn't bring herself to watch.

She closed the kitchen curtains; lowered the shades,

And left us swinging limb to branch to crotch.

High up among the brittle boughs we sat

Long golden afternoons and fiery dusks,

Where God would whisper soft among the leaves,

The secret things He only shared with us.


When last I saw my brother he was climbing

Still higher slipping upward toward the light

But down there in the hard red clay he left

His bones behind; in payment for the flight


Nor was he last of those I’d lose among

The branches high and airy.  Did they hear,

God whisper secrets, somehow I did not?

And is that why He’s left me waiting here?


High among the branches I drink sunlight

That trickles down among the leaves and boughs

Listening hard to hear a secret whispered

The one in all the years, I’ve missed somehow.






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When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

twayneking’s Poems (38)

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