There once stood a durian tree,
In front of my gate,
Solitary, twisted and bare,
A forlorn state it did depict,
Its age you couldn’t tell.

Its branches hung high,
Twisted like a snake,
Black and mouldy, with parasites running wild,
Its leaves stuck out in places.
‘It’s dead the neighbours lamented.’

Then one fine day the tree had a gleam,
White flowers appeared as if in a dream.
Little baby durians poked out their heads,
And laughed at us,
As if they had returned from the dead.

‘Don’t cut that tree,’ was my father’s cry,
Some day it’ll have babies and then it’ll die.
How right he was then,
He smiled in glee,
He had indeed saved a tree; a mother it would be.

A wonder it is for a tree that old,
To have babies before it goes,
Who can tell how nature works?
If we had all the answers, how simple it would be,
To even understand,
The birds and the bees.

Then one night, we heard a thud,
The ‘king’ was here for us to have a feast.
My father who normally slept like a log,
Could now hear every fall, and every thud,
Durians we ate non-stop!

The men from the Town Council
Then came one day,
‘The durian tree is in the way,’ they said.
‘The gravel road must be tarred,’
‘Cut!’ they screamed!
‘Cut at it hard!’

We now sit on its stumps,
Reminiscing its glory and repeating this little story.
Fifty years and more have passed,
We sometimes wonder what would have been
If we had let the durian tree be?

*** Header image by Jim Teo on Unsplash.

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