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Albert's Fruit


For Bishop Albert Ottenweller

Christmas 2008



A tree was planted by a River decades ago.

Over time it wasn’t just water that passed

Under its branches, past and through its roots:

Life itself witnessed the tree – and vice versa.


Standing like others through the turning seasons,

With time growing to appreciate its source:

The River’s devotion to the gen’rous task

Of bringing nourishment to the hungry plant.


Others standing nearby missed the perspective

And, sending their feeding tubes searching elsewhere,

Missed the richness of the river’s provision

And fully spent thinly resourced fruit too soon.


The wise’ning tree devoted itself likewise

To the River ever faithfully flowing:

Roots reaching deep and far t’wards wooing current,

Drinking more and more deeply with passing time.


Not unscathed through such lengthy passing of life,

The element-ravaged, River-‘biding tree

Not spared once-gracious limbs gnarled by hardship,

Nor sturdy trunk twisted by disappointments.


Undaunted, drinking still the River’s devotion;

Still reaching up in hope, growing deep in trust

That stateliness is not visible stature,

But by fortitude and faithfulness revealed.


Now ancient members, and heavily laden,

Bow low ‘neath the weight of unexpected fruit

Born not of youthful vigor nor epic effort,

But of its rootedness in the River’s life.