The Cherry Tree (a sestina)

By Marie Sheard

Childhood days often spent in a tree
Enjoying peaceful times alone
Away from the fretful family.
She climbs with her chunk of bread
And picks ripe cherries in the wind,
Savours her meal in a boat of branches.

The tree is a galleon, its masts the branches,
Perched as high as she can up the tree,
She keeps a look out, hair afloat in the wind,
Her eyes gaze on a fantasy sea, alone
At the top of the tree with cherries and bread
Forgetting the demands of the family.

She needs time away from the family
So she climbs far up among the branches.
She picks the ruby cherries that stain her bread
And settles down with her friend the tree
Relishing her time with him alone
Her sorrows blown away by the wind.

The tree sways in the warm June wind.
She does not hear the sounds of the family.
She is the captain of the ship alone,
Its leafy green sails blowing on the branches.
The treasure of ruby offered by the tree
A splendid companion to her simple bread.

The white flesh and golden crust of the bread
She throws some to the birds in the wind,
Rests her head on the smooth bark of the tree
Away from the house and from the family.
She hugs the limbs of her friend, branches
That curve under her resting body, alone.

Time passes slowly when she is alone,
The juice of cherries on her lips and her bread.
Above her head more and more branches
The rigging of her ship creaking in the wind.
She looks to the sky, no thought of the family,
Complete and at peace within her tree.

Suspended alone in the wind of her mind
She chews on the bread, forgets the family.
All she needs are the branches of her friend the tree.

Marie Sheard 2023

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