Beneath a certain pine tree ( a tribute to those who came before)

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by Lyle Dillabough

There is this old twisted white pine tree that stands in back of an old church yard near the hamlet of Ferguson Falls, Ontario which remains planted firmly in my mind. What it symbolizes, represents and stands for are the very things that made this country, what it was and is. And sadly too, perhaps, it represents what this country is quickly becoming. A land that has lost it's way. For the names and faces have long been forgotten just as the reasons for their being here in the first place have been long since eclipsed.

This particular tree can be found on the side of a hill that overlooks the Mississippi River which flows sleepily nearby. It was most likely spared the lumberjack's axe due to it's shape and unsuitabilty for timber and thus it remains. Maybe this played into the decision to build a church there in the first place and the cemetery was a natural result of this.

But no matter how it came to be, this place has an endearing quality to it and something moves me deeply inside everytime I pass by. So much so that I was inspired to write the following poem. Please allow me to share it with you.

BENEATH THE TWISTED PINE

We rest;
Beneath the twisted pine,
In a field so fine,
Along the fence line..
Suspended in time.

We sleep;
In an old church yard,
Under soil packed hard,
Where we once did our part,
Now we just stand guard.

Twas then;
Back in other days,
When we laughed and played,
Loved, wept and prayed,
And thus we stayed.

Our hope;
Was in what we believed,
And perhaps might see,
In a land so free..
In a land so free!

This land?
Became our home:
No more would we roam,
Our toil and tone,
And at last we were home.

So when we rise,
We shall oblige:
The Master of time,
Who reigns upon high,
So alive, so alive.

Therefore, we rest:
In a field so fine,
Along the fence line,
Suspended in time…
Beneath the twisted pine.

(2007)