When I was a boy
the Pagoda Tree
reached the sky
Rocking on my
homemade bike
I couldn’t see
the tippy top
Its massive trunk
grounded me
huge roots warped the street
We rode on by
our great tree beast
with rhino hide
feeling something
shift inside
Pagoda grew

As a man
its lofty limbs
with bushels full
of tiny fluttering
feathered leaves
dancing on the
warming south west
Island wind
tickles me
to believe
it sailed
from China in a pot
Years before the Union Jack
tore redneck rebel
racial pride
Feeling something
shift inside
Pagoda grew

The Great War filled trenches
shoulder high
of mustard gas
while young men died
In heaps they cried
The War to end all war
While something moved
deep inside
Pagoda grew

World War II’s
mushroom cloud
belched its venom to the sky
a massive trunk spewed
burning rain fluttering down
raw as tears
and tanks and trains
of German steel
Our world shifted
on its heels
Pagoda grew

When Kennedy and King
were shot
while telling us
the ugly truth
lifting hope
and firing dreams
that fluttered down
from mountain peaks
sparkling on humanity
Something sure did
shift inside
Pagoda grew

Watts burned hot
Boston bused
Vietnam crushed
while Nixon lied
and oh so many
young boys died
This tide must turn
the planet cried
and still we tucked
the fear inside
Pagoda grew

Now younger children
ride new bikes
on big tree roots
up Water street
They gawk in awe
Its massive trunk
so filled with life
They shift on seats
to share the sight
and still
Pagoda grew

A brand new plague
came one night
All around the
busy world
rich and poor it
clutched our throats
and shut our little
Island town
Reminded us and
slowed us down
Reset the planet
back in time
Friends and neighbors
held on tight
We shifted
up side down
Pagoda grew

Then George Floyd died
He couldn’t breath
While years of fear
and prejudice
bound up in
a boney bigot’s
knobby knee
and like Corona
took our breath
gave us masks and
This knee and virus
made us re-al-ize
what we truly need
A global shift is
due indeed
I feel we have the strength inside
Our children’s lives
are on the line
Together we can surely thrive
divided we are done
And yes
with tiny awesome leaves
fluttering in the south west breeze
rippling in the summer sun
Pagoda surely grew