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Loveless Tree

·1073 words·6 mins·
Poem-Swap 2022
Jerry S
Jerry S
Table of Contents

Loveless Tree

I grew close to a friend,
I planted care inside my pot.
A bonsai with trimmed ends,
Told to not outgrow its lot.

In their home there came a schism,
life took on a different rhythm.
A smile my way, was sent one day, unlike ones before.
I took it as sign, this plant of mine, should grow beyond one shore.

So I showered it in dreams,
bright sparklesun and soft moonbeams;
And I sung to it my songs,
And told tales of right and wrong.

And it sprouted leaf and might
Till the buds were plump delight
Then my love beheld them shine
Knew in heart that they were mine.

And to my burgeoning hope they strolled,
When nightest night had taken hold;
In the morning saddened I’m to see,
Two footprint sets ‘round my felled tree.

From an artist on DeviantArt. It doesn’t match what I wrote 100%, but it’s close enough.

Inspiration Revealed

My muses inspire me when I write.

Your muses inspire you when you read.

Below I choose to disclose the inspirations and interpretations of my own poems.

Maybe our muses told us some of the same things. Read on below if you really want to find out.

Inspiration & History

This poem has had a long way to come to get to this state, which is to say the state of existing. Here is what I know of how it came to be.

The Originals

I was in Florida visiting one of my best friends and they introduced me to a show called The Originals. You don’t need to know anything about the show other than that it is about really old, good looking, nearly unstoppable vampires.

One of the early episodes included one of the main characters reading a poem that I had never heard before. You can go look at it here on Youtube. I was impressed by the last few lines of the reading and absolutely HAD to reread it and understand it myself.

Poison Tree - William Blake

I quickly found out the title of the poem and the author. It was titled Poison Tree and it was written by William Blake. I had no idea who William Blake is but after reading his Wikipedia page it’s because he died AGES ago. August 12, 1827 in fact…195 years before my time. Apparently, no one cared about his work while he was actually alive. It wasn’t until after his death that he became more well known. That’s the curse I suppose; the curse of being a good writer.

I memorized the poem so I could recite it without having to look it up on Google. Who the hell memorizes poetry nowadays? Anyone?

The poem above stayed in my psyche, especially since I memorized it, and it just lay there dormant. It would conjure itself up during showers or on hikes. It’s interesting to consciously fill your mind with something (memorization) and to have it draw itself out of wherever it is to make an appearance on the stage of your consciousness.

It’s complicated

This next part…well…it’s complicated.

Let’s set aside the Poison Tree for a moment because what I experienced has nothing to do with how I discovered the Poison Tree, why I memorized it, or my friend that introduced me to show The Originals.

Divulging specifics about what I experienced is not what this post is for. I’ve got people in my life that I’ve been able to talk to about those. As such, what I want to do is to say that from my point of view it suffices to say that I felt a deep betrayal at a level that I hadn’t been to before.

As “Loveless tree” outlines in the first line I had a friend, a long-time friend, that I had grown to care for and love. Betrayals by people we don’t love don’t matter and are easier to deal with. Because trees don’t grow overnight, they can be some of the oldest and strongest beings, and when they’re taken down it can shake the earth.

Pretty accurate to how I looked and felt at the time.

The Story Condenses Itself

After those events in my life it seemed natural, to me at least, to reflect on what had transpired. One day, my reflections of these particular events condensed themselves into this poem.

I was in the car driving and as happens with these poems the first few lines flashed into my mind. I stopped at the next parking lot to take them down into my notes application on my phone.

It’s important to mention that before the lines flashed into my mind I was imagining the satisfaction of the Poison Tree’s author when he witnessed his dead foe outstretched beneath that tree.

The Remixing

I felt odd copying the Poison Tree but that’s what I did. I gave it my own title and then I started morphing the words and meanings but it still has hints of the original. Since I wrote it, its provenance seems obvious to me.

But…songs get remixed all the time. Why not a poem?

I wrote a first draft and let it sit in my notes for several months or so. Then I came back to it and, without looking at the Poison Tree again (I know I have it memorized), I remixed my draft and morphed that even further. In other words, I edited my draft and rewrote it to further distance itself from the original. Morphing and remixing sounds better than just saying editing and copying.

A Mutant of a Poem

There it is. This poem is an amalgamation of the Poison Tree and my own life experience after spending time in my subconscious. The effort went into making my story fit into a loosened version of the structure of Poison Tree and then morphing it again even further.

Different Trees

Regardless of how it was inspired, the original and my own version now stand independently of each other because the trees were grown for different purposes. Poison Tree conveys an angry vindictiveness that is coated with a glaze of gleeful anticipation while it grows into full-fledged murderous vengeance. Loveless Tree is filled with rather a hopeful anticipation that ends in surprisingly tremendous sadness and disappointment.

Lesson Learned

It’s ok. I will try to grow more love trees.