I stand erect before them,
But what won't bend will break.
I never flinch before the steel,
And stay unmoved by its strokes.
Stiff as a wooden soldier
That's broken from its ranks,
I'll suckle no vermin with tears,
Though blight's eating out my heart.
My bark remains unbroken,
A shroud to cover up my death.
Borders closed along my skin,
The fall comes from within.
My being is rotting inside,
As I hollow myself out.
But it can make me stronger,
If I'm so strong as to survive.
I've been waiting here so long
That I think this tree is me,
I don't have to fell the trunk,
To move out of its shade.