Schmit Family
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15 February 2004 5:08 pm

Three Trees

Tree "Stop making my Father's house
Into a market place!" 1

Half a century ago
An idealistic young man
Planted a honey locust
Near His house.

Five years ago
Another idealistic young man
Planted four honey locusts
Near His house.

And the now old man
Prophesied to the younger,
"In fifty years you will return as I have
And see not one but four full grown.
And while watching the people rest
In the shade of their branches,
You will know that you have made a difference."

Today the young man returns;
The world has touched him with its cynicism
Yet he retains his youthful idealism.
He finds the threesome destroyed.

   The idealist is saddened
   For he understands not why;
   For the cynic
   The answer is blatant.
   The idealist knows
   Their branches had no tempting fruits 2,
   Yet to the cynic
   The rutted ground is tainted with the color of money.
   The idealist knows
   That no locust plague devoured the trees 3,
   But to the cynic
   We enslave ourselves to Mammon 4.
   The idealist knows
   That the first angel did not blow her horn to consume the trees 5,
   Yet to the cynic
   The mark of the Beast is upon us all 6.
   The idealist knows
   That no alter to another God has been erected where the trees once stood,
   But to the cynic
   The golden bull-calf is in our communities 7.


The trees were betrayed for a carnival,
A carnival that didn't even earn 30 pieces of silver 8.

The memorials of Chesser, Grime, and Bargabos.
Lie buried, rotting...

   The idealist knows they have died
   But hopes they will grow again.
   He sees green shoots
   Growing from the severed trunks;
   To the cynic
   They will never be the same.
   He smirks at the thought of buying nature
   To replace that which was destroyed.
   And he knows that...
   "Big Money got no soul." 9

Cleveland, Ohio

1 John 2:16
2 Genesis 2:17
3 Exodus 10:12
4 Luke 16:13
5 Revelation 8:7
6 Revelation 13:17
7 Exodus 32:4
8 Matthew 26:15
9 N. Peart "Big Money"

Yes, I was a bit upset when I wrote this. In 1988, I completed my Eagle project. My project was to plant four trees and a number of shrubs and install a couple of benches in the lot next to the church that I attended. Five years later, while I was away at college, the church that I attended held a carnival to raise funds. In order to hold this carnival, someone decided to cut down three of the four trees that I planted. Reportedly, the carnival didn't raise much money. Not that it would make a difference if it did.

Even back when I wrote this I realized that I am a cynical idealist. Since then, I've refined my understanding and now realize that, in general, I am cynical about the past and idealistic about the future. For me, this division is preferable to the reverse which would be quite depressing. Not that I really have a choice....

The picture, from 1998, is of the surviving honey locust tree; it is even larger now. In the upper-right corner, the branch from the older honey locust is visible. Mr. Walter Parsons planted the older honey locust over 65 years ago. One of my finest memories of my Eagle project is him commenting to me that someday my trees will be as large as the one that he planted and I will watch people enjoying their shade. While it has been fifteen rather than fifty years, I have enjoyed watching people enjoy the tree. The tree is currently holding a yellow ribbon for each of the military personnel that are related to the church and serving in Iraq.

Posted by geoff at 17:08 in /poetry