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THEOAK'S TELLING
        
(  A Tale of Sherwood's noble outlaws )

I have stood and watched in silence.
I have seen it all.
The whole tale played itself out before me.
Acted out in my theatre of the forest.
My gnarled, bare branches bore witness to this drama.
My players now, have long since made their exit.
Their final bows a poignant memory on the breeze.
Lives once lived, just an echoe on my forest floor.
New eyes gaze upon me, 
Searching for a truth they think they know.
They don't.
How can they ?
Only I saw the real story
Unfold beneath my curtain of sprawling branches.
The tale is mine.
I witnessed it all,
Played out before me in this ancient grove.
I, the trysting oak, 
Have stood wise and silent 
Through the seasons of the woods.
If I listen long and hard 
The echoes will return on the gentle breeze of springtime.
Spring, when they talked excitedly of noble deeds
And life long trysts.
Of righting wrongs and justice for the people.
When thoughts of romance yet to come,
Kept them from their chores.
They jostled and fought and honed their skills.
They had it all.
Set out on the stage of my forest floor.
The lazy, abundant days of summer
Found them dinning on venison and swan, 
River fowl and fish,
Washed down with a good hearty wine.
They made love at night, under my leafy canopy
To the sound of endless merry making.
Life was good.
The seasons however, marched on......
I shed my autumn leaves on weary bodies
And unfulfilled dreams.
Old bones and branches began to creak.
Life slowed down.
Bodies and brittle wood
Bent to brace the coming winds.
Cold rain and harsh snow saw the winter through.
Booty raided in summer was eeked out.
Fraying tempers, wet clothes.
And cold.
Always, always cold.
Under my protective branches
They huddled round their home fires.
I gave them kindling and shelter.
They warmed their hearts with tellings of merriment
And chivalrous  deeds in summers long gone.
I watched it all
Silent.
I saw the tale unfold,
Written in my gnarled old wood.
My tale.
My telling.
My players now departed.
Echoes on the breeze.
Those who still come to these woods,
Think they know,
Think they know the telling.
They pay me no heed.
Why should they ?
For what do I know ?
What can I tell ?
For after all, I am only an old battered oak tree............