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Old Stump

By Barbara Hiebert

(This was written by Barbara for Grandma Hiebert's 90th birthday. John read it at Grandma's funeral. The poem is part of a booklet of poetry by Barbara.)

Even dogs tremble in silence,
watching the sky crackle with sharp thunder.
The great drums resound with each crack of the whip
while steady pellets of rain
form rivers below my sheltered porch.

There in the yard stands a worn old stump
with dark green moss that tumbles to her feet
like a velvet dress put on in summer,
her ninety rings like circling scars
with gnarly pearls that string out from below.

You are not just an old grey stump,
there to be sat on and easily forgotten!

Once you felt the hot fiery tongues that raced
across dry grasses and fields, snapping
hungry yellow-orange fingers that licked
at your parched wooden skirts.
You endured.

Patiently you allowed cool spring storms
to pour pitchers of soothing water
deep into your thirsty roots.

You exalted in the flashes of jagged light,
and shook your great head of silvery curls,
scattering broken branches to say,
"Take what you want, but I will stand!"

I love you, old stump.
You are everything I hope to be:
strong in life and steady in death.
Your blood runs within me,
whispering to me in the early morning.