In a sheltered place, where the bitter North wind
Does not sweep the Earth and Autumn's frost lies
But light upon the ground, there, standing proud,
Once grew a tree of grace beneath the skies.
From gentle withy it grew, and green buds
Of leaf it spread to catch the morning's light
And dew. And so it grew, so prosperous
That its roots spread far, and such was its height
It dwarfed its fellows all around. The tree,
Though of great power, in one way was weak.
To sustain it, roots searched deeply and found
Deep in the ground a place where they must halt
And turn aside - the rock beneath was hard -
The roots could pry apart no seam or fault.
In a desolate place that holds no green
Nor flower, where the sun seems not to pry,
Still lives a tree of warped and stunted form
That, though sick and parched, does not want to die.