The Kindness of Trees

by Jackie Kay

Deep in the forest there stood
A tree whose heart beat in the winter wood
Who understood everything that was bad
And everything that was good.
 
It extended long arms to woo you
As the winter wind blew and blew
And every thing a child could think,
The tree already knew.
 
And every time a boy was sad,
The tree dropped a pine.
And every time a girl got mad,
The tree roared in the wind.
 
In the dead mid-winter night,
The tree blew a hello, goodbye;
When every child was asleep in bed,
The tree sang a lullaby.
 
And when Christmas time came round
The tree’s song soared and soared.
And when gifts adorned the ground,
The tree blushed, made a sssh sound.
 
And people gathered round the tree:
To sing the winter song, in harmony;
One to keep the bright light glowing,
A song of what we know without knowing.
 
It had a sad and piercing melody –
A worry for the ash, sparrow, bee.
The polar bear, the ice melting.
A worry for you, me, dear tree.
 
In the depths of the winter wood,
The friendly tree stood, kind and good,
And breathed a word that caught the mood:
A pledge, a promise, a plea for good.