(Originally written in Urdu)
Old, dry, and shriveled up
Bereft now of new shoots and green leaves
Bent almost double like a century-old man
The tree that I have known for many years
Someone whom I meet almost every day
Is waiting for me this morning.
My walk includes a trip thru the old park
I stop in its shade, caress my friend’s rough trunk
Wait for my breathing to become balanced again.
The trunk is rough to the touch
Uneven, jagged, and craggy
I put my head against its rough surface
Close my eyes, say a word of thanks
And then go farther on my way.
Today a change greets me
I have been away for a month or so
This is my first-morning walk on my return.
The oldie is there but I just can’t recognize it
He wears a youthful verdant look today!
I look around and see other trees
Green and young and pleasing to the eye, but
Old as he was, a comrade in age, he was my only friend
I had never given any thought to the others.
It seems the fate has done it a good turn
A neighboring climber, a vine, green and purple
Healthful, zestful, fresh and soft and velvety
A young damsel-like growth, slim but sturdy
Curling its arms around the trunk – round and round
Up and up it has climbed reaching almost its bald head
Dancing with the wind in glee
As if saying, “I needed a dependable friend –
To grow tall and healthy
Spread my wings far and wide
And I know I’ve got it in symbiosis”
The shaggy and craggy trunk
Wears a green look, soft to the touch, dew-like fresh
Exudes pubescence, a rejuvenated spirit of youth.
I, too, have a relationship of sorts
With my old friend. Don’t I? But I am not that lucky!