Crabapple Tree

Beyond the golden opportunity

tarnished by jadedness,

beyond the comforting squabble

that is the great chicken coop of this world…

you stand like a testament

to pure unadulterated existence,

not as simple as the stone at your feet

nor as complex as the crow

who topples reaching with her beak

for one of your tiny over-ripe apples.


I could cut you down, cut you up

into firewood; I could shape you

into an image I have in mind,

yet you expect nothing of me;

you take everything I do to you

with chainsaw and loppers,

and yet you do not move,

while I need endure nothing of you

except your incremental growth.


I make metaphors of your crusty bark;

I turn you into symbols, into syllables;

I go so far as to abandon myself spiritually

to your grace, yet there you stand,

rooted so profoundly I can’t imagine

such rootedness, my body is so insane

to move and only for a moment

can I follow your example—

and only superficially at that.


I might imagine—I might be so vain,

so egocentric, as to believe—you love me

in some inhuman way. But I already take so much

from your stillness and strength, from the slow

flow of your colors through the seasons,

that I do my best not to turn you into a man,

grateful that if you cannot love

then you cannot hate me.


Previously published by Spindrift Art and Literary Journal, Shoreline Community College


Declaration of Healthy Intimate Relationship Needs

To feel acknowledged and appreciated for what one is, who one is, and what one does and not just in the passing, under-the-breath, mundane way.

To be respected for hard work, worldly knowledge, and achievements and as a human being, man or woman, hard worker, senior, learned person, leader, artist, dream-fulfiller, innovative or productive person, etc.

To be understood, to have one’s feelings understood, or at least to feel the effort another makes to understand.

To be responded to, not with silence, but with a full, thoughtful, and delving response. To be soothed if necessary. To have both pain and joy responded to accordingly. Not to be taken for granted.

To be cared about (or for, if and when necessary) as much as is possible or reasonable. To have an interest taken in one’s life, work, pursuits, struggles, and successes.

To feel one is needed and that what one has to give is valuable and of use. To receive credit or acknowledgment for these offerings.

To be known and remembered. To be heard and understood (not criticized, judged, prescribed, or directed). To be asked questions until a full understanding is reached.

To be apologized to, as necessary.

To receive affection and tenderness.

Most importantly: To be communicated with clearly and carefully at all times, especially about all of the above. No relationship is more important than the central love relationship, materially, emotionally, and socially. Nothing should get in the way of clear, careful, well-meaning communication.

Note: This is a lot to need, yet the fulfillment of these needs, the humble effort to fulfill these needs, is the basic prescription for a fully blossomed, finely tuned, healthy intimate love relationship. Also, it’s necessary to have the courage to admit that responding to needs is difficult or requires work and to understand the difference between love and mere dependence.

Copyright 2017 by Rick Clark