Preserved in Death

spiraltreebared and slashed
preserved in death.
there he stands
twelve tall.
killed in a flash
to be saved
for an age.

king of the stumps,
and a limbless tree.
he once took root so
he might be
stripped and charred
striped and marred
a spiraling spire
of twisted grain
elevated to stand
under strain
humbly
for a ten-decade reign.

scattered through woods
are sainted trees,
epitaphs,
their names engraved
on binded leaves.
in ashen stumps
their bodies saved
when rush of wind
and tongues of fire
enlightened them
engulfed, inspired.

they wait
asleep
they pine
they pray
for a day
when they
will wake,
will shine.

the fire
that killed him
saved them
purified them
petrified them
hardened them
immortalized them

agony:
a blaze of pain.
irony:
eternal gain.

forbears and offsprigs
who died of old age,
died not in the blaze:
they fell naturally,
crashed gracefully:
but they are decayed,
returned to the dust
consumed by the earth
in which they lay

to rot.

but not

those baptized in fire
who stood their ground
to bow their crowns

not those lost
to flame inflictors

the fire
that killed him
saved them
purified them
petrified them
hardened them
immortalized them

in his loss
they became victors.

bared and slashed
preserved in death.
there he stands
twelve tall.
killed in a flash
to save
an age.

 

Published in Inkwell Spring 2017 Bethany Lutheran College

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