Sunday 20 November 2011

The Last Leaf

image of a last leaf courtesy A. Vesthaug, in Norway
Leaf poised
shimmering slightly
attached so lightly
she is not quite
for the fall.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2011, for dverse

Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year. Anne Frank, 1944.

Our cherry tree seems not to have noticed that it is nearing the end of November. Every day I watch the leaves. Even the fastest leaf shimmy seems but a playful game, not a determined detachment. Last night I dreamed I was at the top of some stairs, but had a choice as to my descent - choose stairs and painstakingly make my way down, or jump. I decided to jump, but gravity didn't exert her usual force. I found myself magnetised to the parapet wall, stuck there, shifting uneasily, sliding a few inches, but the deciding force was my mind, keeping me upright. I didn't want to fall, but I couldn't change my direction. I had to jump. It took ages, and so much energy, so much concentration. And then finally, I jumped.
Did you hear the story of Anne Frank's tree? In 2007, a hard won battle was fought to preserve the horse chestnut, even though fungal disease had entered the trunk. A steel construction was built to prolong the life of the tree. The case garnered much media attention. And then, on 23 August 2010, gale force winds blew down the tree. Change is going to come no matter what we do, but boy, do we fight it!

(This is a video clip of Emma Thompson, opening the Anne Frank Tree in the Anne Frank House, a year before the fall. She wanted to celebrate Anne's sense of humour and her girlhood, so she paired a sombre black top with a bright pink skirt! Anne would have approved of Emma Thompson, don't you feel?)


Brian Miller said...

it is all in timing...and i am glad she had the freedom to decide she was not ready...

but yes change will come regardless...


I love this line: "attached so lightly" ... barely hanging on, but still grasping

Cloudia said...

tasty post!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Sheila said...

I love poems about trees and this is no exception. beautiful! thanks for linking up with the prompt.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Thank you so much for this, Shaista, your post is beautiful and the Emma Thompson reading and commentary is extraordinarily moving. How she translates Anne Frank's "would haves" into "our possibilities" is inspired and inspiring. I think I will share this on facebook.

Ruth said...

I agree with Lorenzo's attention to the "would haves" in Emma's talk. What is it about the tremulous leaf, alone, that attracts our attention? It seems a miracle to hold on like that, and even after fallen, we keep holding on to it, and her. I love your touching poem and post.

The Cello Strings said...

not ready?

love the way you give the leaf life .

The Cello Strings said...

not ready?

love the way you give the leaf life .

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

'smmering leaf' decidedly uncertain, gossamer wings of a butterfly pressed by a strong wind...on and on. Love the frailty in the struggles. Human eyes with heart are empathetic to this.

Love your gentle obsercations.

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

That's 'shimmering and Observations'. Sorry for the dyslexic fingers.

Celestial Dreamz said...

loved it ...

Ronald said...

This is Ronald from Ronreads.

Once again, thank you so much for the kind words -- and for bringing that delightful Emma Thompson video into my life!

Cait O'Connor said...

I love the first quote about the leaf not yet ready for the fall.
Shame about Anne Frank's tree, they should plant another in her memory.

Maggie May said...

so much beauty.

Relyn Lawson said...

The meal has been eaten.
The kitchen is clean.
The leftovers are stashed.
The walk has been taken.
Everyone is happy and fed and blessed.
Now I have the time to stop by.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to tell you that I am thankful for you and for this blog. Sending you much love, Relyn

* said...

Beautiful, thank you for sharing this. I have a confession to make: I've never read The Diary of Anne Frank, but today, that is going to change.

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