"The old birch tree, no more shall be,
As it has been...since you were three--
A menace," so said an old faith healer to me,
Whose word was my old man's command,
Because I was in bed--in moribund.
And "something else," he said to me--
"The tree is home to ghosts at night...
All bug-eyed in flowing gowns of white."
The children cheered at every strike of ax,
And fall of branches and leaves on grass, and
They raked 'em to a towering pile, as sky
High--in my young mind's eye.
And then, the smell of burning leaves, like
Perfumed incense in the evening breeze,
Made me dance like moth 'round the flame...
Chanting, even as the cheering long ceased.
The story's long to tell. I got well,
Under a doctor's care. And where once,
An old birch tree stood tall and free,
Now thrives a life-sustaining malunggay tree.