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Rudyard Kipling1865 – 1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!




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The Oak Tree

The Oak Tree

by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

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Mighty Oak

Mighty Oak
By Kathy J Parenteau

Stand tall oh mighty oak, for all the world to see,
your strength and undying beauty forever amazes me.
Though storm clouds hover above you,
your branches span the sky,
in search of the radiant sunlight you
count on to survive.
When the winds are high and restless and
you lose a limb or two,
it only makes you stronger, we
could learn so much from you.
Though generations have come and gone
and brought about such change,
quietly you’ve watched them all yet still
remained the same.
I only pray God give to me the strength he’s
given you,
to face each day with hope, whether
skies are black or blue,
Life on earth is truly a gift
every moment we must treasure,
it’s the simple things we take for granted
that become our ultimate pleasures.

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The Mother Tree

The Mother Tree

Shelley Ayres

It arrived in the mail, a remembrance, you see

That was soon to be called “The Mother Tree”

My mother died in March, his, the previous November

The acorn sprouted on Mother’s Day, a perfect way to remember

A little pot was in order to plant the little sprout

It was nurtured with love, the essence of what Mothers are all about

After a move to a larger pot to withstand the summer heat

It is now growing in our yard with plenty of room to wiggle its feet

One day its branches will grace our home with shade

Like the wings of angels in a tree that God made



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The Elm Tree

 The Elm Tree

Shelley Ayres

The elm tree is a sentinel in our back yard.

It provides welcomed shade on summer days like this one.

A long rope hangs from a branch that seems to be as high as the sky itself.

I place the charcoal in the grill and squirt on the lighter fuel.

Strangely, I enjoy that smell.

My mom strikes a wooden kitchen match and tosses it onto the soaked charcoal.

The instant flare makes us both jump back and turn our faces away.

Soon the aroma of the chicken takes over.

I am pulled to the waiting rope hanging from the tree.

To climb to the top and touch the branch from which it descends.

As I hang there spellbound by the view my mother comes out to tend to the chicken.

With wide eyes and a hint of fear in her voice she commands that I come down.

I know this battle is futile.

I slowly retreat with bowed head and wet eyes.

September 08, 2013

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The Mulberry Tree

The Mulberry Tree

Shelley Ayres

I climb the crooked slats nailed to the trunk of our gnarly old mulberry tree.

My safe haven waits patiently for my return.

I reach the plank floor of the tree house and swiftly lie on my back.

I exhale a smile at the leaves waving at me from their branches.

I feel the dappled warmth of sunlight on my skin.

I inhale deeply, consuming the scent of ripe berries and old wood.

With each breath I distance myself from the uneasiness that had invaded me.

The tree, my tree, is the calmness that I crave.

This tree is magical.

September 8, 2013