Catalpa Tree
by Ryan Bradshaw

I wish you could see the Catalpa tree
That towers in Tower Grove Park;
To admire its size with your own two eyes, 
And the artistry of its bark. 
I wish you could hug the Catalpa’s trunk,
Press both your palms against its skin;
And then you could sense the mighty presence
Of the spirit that lives within.

Yes, I wish you could see beyond the wood,
To regard it as your elder;  
To accept its shade on a scorching day
And then thank it for its shelter.
To give it respect. To never forget
That it creates the breath of life.
To listen. Its leaves rustling in the breeze
Would offer you peace, and insight. 

I wish you could see the Catalpa’s leaves,
Stand beneath them, gazing upward,
With your mouth agape as you note their shape
And the brilliance of their colour.
Every green part is shaped like a heart.
If all could see those leaves above,
Then the world would know: just one tree can grow
One hundred thousand acts of love.

The Catalpa tree has so much to teach;
I wish I could be its student,
Devoting my days to learning its ways 
In Tower Grove Park, St. Louis;
To master the skill of just staying still,
To connect with the earth and sky. 
To be like the leaf-crowned Catalpa tree
Who is gentle and strong and wise.

© 2018 Ryan Bradshaw

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