The Tree

Written in memory of my late grandfather, Larry F. Dunlap

Tall, strong, independent tree

Bark covering the trunk stretched wide

Sprouting from the head green leaves

Bold branches emerge from side to side

For me, the tree has always been there

When in need, it gave me fresh air

The tree was there when I took my first steps

Its very own trunk held my hammock as I slept

When the sun shined too hot, its leaves covered

The tree prayed for me when uneasy spirits hovered

When I was numb, I could always feel his bark

The tree reminded me of light when I was afraid of the dark

When I came to the tree with rivers in my eyes,

the tree would soak my tears into its soil

When I would play and scrape my knee under the blue skies,

the tree would heal my wounds with its sweet oil

I never carried hunger because the tree would provide fruit

The tree would tell me, “You are of me, blood of my blood, we have the same roots”

Now the tree has aged, broken branches, withered leaves

But I will never forget how the tree fulfilled all my wants and needs

Now it is I who must plant new seeds

For the tree was the greatest provider

But the one above everything, has called him higher

Jasmine Tanui Who is she? Everyone within a grasp of her writings wonders who she might be. Her scripts lift the dullness of the reader, leaving the people who have read it wanting more. She writes to please herself but the words on the paper are never selfish. Reading her poetry is like knowing her. You know her greatest fears and her roots of happiness all from the letters she forms into words. You feel her sadness and celebration. Her writings make her indestructible. She is Jasmine Tanui, sometimes known as Jemutai, her native name. She is a 19-year-old, African American girl with Kenyan roots.

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