A Crooked Old Tree - Poem by Jim Yerman
There was once an ancient Chinese philosopher sitting under a crooked old tree
Who spoke on the subject of judging others, and how we need to think differently.
“When this tree was younger, ” he said, “it caused many people to gape
It was covered with bulges and its trunk and branches were contorted way out of shape.
Master carpenters, the ones who use wood in the ships and the homes they create
Were not looking for wood that was twisted, they needed their wood to be straight.
When they looked at the gnarly and misshapen branches displayed in this crooked old tree
They deemed it to be useless for their needs and decided to just let it be.
Consequently that tree was never cut down, it grew and it grew, and in time
It offered shade from the sun, quiet solitude and it’s branches were easy to climb.
This same tree once labeled useless is now treasured by the people in this town
Who are thankful for all that it offers and glad it was never cut down.”
“Neither should humans, ” he continued, “be judged by their shape or their size
For like this old tree we’re sitting under, their destiny may too surprise.
So never accept other people’s judgement of you; do not let them limit who you can be,
And do not dismiss anyone in this world but treat everyone with dignity.”
It’s a lesson I try to remember when I am judged or I judge others quickly.
I try to stop and remember that Chinese philosopher and that beautiful crooked old tree.
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