The Departing Oak

July 15, 2013
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In the flowing nature of October, where the rich smell of death looms,
acorns bounce against the decaying ground of fallen leaves.
They departed from the branch that reached to the sun,
reaching up to it like an insect to a headlight.
Hope, hope, was all they had;
would either swerve to achieve its goal?
Was it to reach the light,
or have it avoid them like a fungus in the damp confinement of the roots?

Like at the train station, they wave in the wind,
softly, smoothly, gently;
bidding farewell, hopeless as they fall to the ground.
The leaves falling to their grave,
soaring through the air, they ended gladly;

Without the great structure that held it, they were nothing;
they faded into the undergrowth, never to be seen, nor ever noticed.
Vanishing segments of something once great,
the leaves mourned their own departure for the doubt of remembrance.

Buried, but without a trace of a tombstone,
their bodies lost in the grass and filth.
Mother nature dies, yet nobody notices;
time has passed and others left too.
The wind of the train flying past took the last of the leaves off of the great oak,
catching its suffering depression in its headlights.

Hope was lost and hatred unearthed;
they all abandoned each other, and the great tree wilted.
Alone to rake the leaves together,
disheartened as their screams in the wind blew their stubbornness through the gathering.
Either becoming dust of buried nature, or blowing far away, just to rid themselves of the pain.
From our great family tree, I was the last to leave.

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This article has 46 comments. Post your own now!

OldYoungOne said...
Aug. 8, 2013 at 9:34 am
This is a very thought provoking piece. I loved the vivid imagery and underlying meaning. I liked that this poem didn't force the reader to overthink but had them use thier brain. I do agree it could flow better because in the longer sentences I feel it dragged.
OldYoungOne replied...
Aug. 9, 2013 at 10:54 am
I completely understand the struggle.
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm
I think most writers do hahaha
WriteOrWrong said...
Aug. 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Very thought provoking. A second read allowed me to get a much better understanding. Your description of Autumn was right on.  I adore the way you expressed this sort of abandonment and unattendedness through leaves. Things I would suggest: the flow could be a bit better and although I recognize that you are trying to mask the deeper meaning maybe you could make it a bit clearer. Try to let the implicit seep through a little more. Some parts I felt were a bit off for the theme of the poem. ... (more »)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm
Thanks, I completely agree that the hidden meaning is very well hidden, but I love a sudden and unexpected twist (just like my stories) so I try to give them the biggest impact I can.
I'll try and do some more and work on it, usually I write short stories, but I enjoy my poetry as well, so I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the feedback :)
MissExploration said...
Aug. 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm
Amazing poem! I love everything about it, especially setting the time in October! You really describe autumn to it's fullest and connect the falling of the oak tree. Although this poem is long, I think it's the perfect length for it. Great job!
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 2, 2013 at 7:27 am
Yeah, I tried not to make it too long, but just long enough to say what was needed for it. Thanks :D
SamanthaW said...
Aug. 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Awesome job, I really enjoyed reading this poem :D Definitely 5-star-worthy! :)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 2, 2013 at 7:25 am
I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the comment :D
sarah98 said...
Aug. 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm
this was really good! i love how you humanize the leaves. fantastic work!!! 5/5!!
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 2, 2013 at 7:19 am
I'm glad you enjoyed it, but was it the leaves I was humanising or the humans I was talking about as leaves (depends if you truly understand the ending).
Thanks for the comment :)
LoonyLoopyLupin said...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm
That last line just put this poem in a whole new light. At first it seemed like you were talking about leaving home, then about an individual fighting society, and then... you were talking about yourself. I love that, that you kept the reader guessing. This piece is so thoughtful. So honest. It's beautiful, to put it bluntly. From one writer to another: wow. I was blown away by this.
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Well I'm glad you enjoyed it :D
sophistryxo This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 11:40 am
Oooh that got a lot darker than I anticipated. However, it was excellently written! I'm a sucker for personification :) Great job!
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D
Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm
Somewhat dark at then end. And as you said there is a deep meaning in it. You always choose great words, which I admire you for that. Great imagery. And flow as well. Keep at it. I love the personification here and there. The rhetorical questions. Many beautiful elements in this poem that make it pleasurable to read. 
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Wow thanks, I'm not even sure if I deserve these compliments but thanks :D
Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Of course you do. Never deny yourself of the feedback another person gives you, even if sometimes it may seem bloated. ^u^
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm
Well if you say so haha, I just try to not let it go to my head, that way I can still aspire to improve. But of course, it is amazing to hear such things from someone. I just hope I can continue to please :D
Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm
Good thinking. There's always room for improvement, I agree. And you will please your reader. From what I can tell already, you're well on your way. 
SwanSong This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2013 at 10:05 am
Sorry this took so long to get back to you, I thought I posted comments a few days ago, but apparently they never went through... Anyway you have really nice imagery here, but the random semicolons thrown in places was really distracting. I'd suggest replacing most of them with commas because it breaks up the flow of the poem with a full stop instead of a puase. 
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