Respect the wood as it has swelled with every drop of rain that fell
And it has shrunk again with every sun that rises
In the building of its rings it tells of joy and suffering
It marks a prophecy for man and writes the history of the land.
Respect the eye that chose this tree beneath the forest canopy
It was the last eye to see it in its glory
It knew the tale the wood would tell, but could not speak until it fell
It chose this story for ourselves like a good book off the shelf.
The story of life’s seasons is the ballad that it sings
Our lives are marked and bound together by concentric rings
Respect the arm and simple strength that subdued its mighty length
That embraced the wood with metal, bone and muscle
More than life came crashing down as one more giant hit the ground
And was carted to the mill; somewhere the stump will morn it still.
Respect the labor and the toil of those who took this fruit of soil
And sliced it into slabs and planks and lumber
Those that stacked it in the yard, those who shipped it wide and far
Did they know where it would land as they held it in their hand.
Respect the heart and mind that conceived a new design
That would bring disparate slabs of timber
To rebuild the tree anew in a form both me and you
Could appreciate in awe what God’s eye alone once saw.
Last of all respect the hand that took these pieces and this plan
And added skill and art and all that it was able
The hand that chiseled, carved and planed, that sanded once and twice again
And now the story of the wood is more clearly understood
As it speaks to us through this chair and table.
© 1993 Pamela Cardullo Ortiz