You believed the tree to be dead:
Bark striped, coloured yellow, it stood out a beacon amongst the grey stems: leafless and smooth.
You: to prove you were a man decided to cut it down;
Cutlass in hands, you struck at the bark, but alas, the deeper you cut, the harder and denser the fibres became, even to the point of turning into a diamond glaze.
The cutlass stroke reverberated through your hands.
The skin became raw.
Now you started to think ‘what have you done but alas there was no turning back.
The trial had begun, the journey ‘from a boy to a man’ had to be completed,
the quest to be a hero: to acquire your grandmother’s affection.
The one that had cast you into emotional exile.
The unwanted child.
The wound inflicted was so deep you felt that you had to continue,
And, so you did until it fell to the ground.
Grandmother would be proud of me: Today, I became a man;
I did as she commanded; I felled a dead tree, surely I will be deserving of her affection.
I became a provider: we needed the charcoal, and I provided.
Years later, my grandfather returned and took a walk through the woods.
I overheard angry words exchanged, moved in closer and heard him angrily ask my grandmother, ‘who had cut down that tree?’
She responded by saying that ‘it was me’.
He responded, ‘I told you never to cut down the trees, even
the dead ones.’
‘They are the protector of the land.
Even the dead trees keep the forest alive.