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Oh my precious bent tree

Who did that to thee

Thy spirit fills the forest

With direction

And intention.

My house sits here now

While long ago somehow

Ancient warriors

And peoples

Traveled your highway

Through and through.

At night

In the quiet

On my back porch I sit

And feel spirits passing along

Your lonesome trail


So many, many moons ago

But as sure as once you guided

The way through dense forest

Your very presence connects me to

Those giants in the earth

Now at rest.

Author’s Note: Some folks says bent trees are not trail markers or made by the American Indian. They say they are not old enough to be formed 187 years or more ago. Same people say they are found naturally bent in nature. Couldn’t both be right? I mean I bend twigs to mark my off trails whilst bushwhacking. And I’m not that old! But then I have seen some three hundred year old trees bent like trail markers. I’ve even followed some for a few miles or so up in these Appalachians but somehow got balled up on the on-ramps. Anyways, it seems natural to mark your trail. Otherwise, thru-hikers wouldn’t be through. I definitely do not use Trail Markers to mark my best fishing holes! I like to sit quite in the middle of the the bushwhacked woods and feel the whispers of the spirits of those who have come this way before me. Giants in the earth!

PS: I decided to ask my American Indian friend, Bill Crossing-the-River, if American Indians were involved in trail markers. He replied, “It’s Classified!”

tom tenbrunsel

Poet Laureate of Folklore

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