An ancient oak
among the trees
stood in the freezing
Winter air;
Lifeless it was
and stripped of leaves
only a few dead leaves
hung there.
I watched all winter,
-watched to see
how long
those shriveled leaves
would cling,
like withered hands,
upon the tree
where whipping winds
would bite and sting.
Each day I watched
and watched in vain;
snowstorms came
and blizzards blew,
wind, ice and sleet,
hail storms and rain:
each took its turn.
When all was through
those leaves
were still there
clinging fast.

came Spring.
Life throbbed anew
within the tree
and loosed their grasp.

-Ruth Bell Graham


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