The Prayer Tree
She liked to pray by the knotted old tree
by Mary Naylor
On the hill facing the restless sea.
She called it her, “Prayer Tree, ”
Because, she said, “It’s old and gnarled like me.”
Then she blessed herself, and groaning sank to her knees.
She clasped her twisted hands, and asked, “Why?
Why me? I’ve done no evil, or hurt no one.
Why must I go to where there is none
Of the faces or things that I love?
Why is my life almost done? ”
She rose slowly, her bent fingers
Clutching her cane. “Listen, linger, ”
A voice sang. Somewhere hands reach to you with love.
Listen, listen to the voice of the dove,
For it sings a song of heaven above.
“Yes cried the crabbed old one, in a voice
filled with joy. “Rejoice, rejoice,
for I hear the song of the dove!
Why, it’s like a cloudburst of love! ”
The old woman walked slowly away,
From the ancient tree by the bay,
Inside she felt a softness like the wings of a dove.
She sank slowly to her knees,
As it rose within, and flew, free!