By Joel M. Schreiber

The ancient tree stood in the yard,
Its leaves a withered gray,
Its arms bare of flowers that had
Been there–but yesterday.

The winds, the storms, the wintry nights,
All pained its every hour–
It seemed to tremble in each storm,
To sigh in every shower.


Photo: Jack Hazut-Israelimage

And yet–though wracked with hurt and cold,
It seemed to knowing eyes,
That though its roots were deep in earth,
Its branches sought the skies.

It was a tragic sight to see–
Those limbs encased in snow,
Still reaching high toward distant sky,
Its trunk so bent–so low!

Through darkened storms, this prayer-like tree
Remained in prayerful pose,
As if it heard a hopeful word
In every wind that rose.

And there this tree unheeded stood,
Receiving not a glance,
Until one day in warm sunlight
Of spring–quite by chance–

I saw a sight that stirred my soul.
A scene of priceless worth,
The ancient tree had found its life
Renewed upon this earth.

Its arms were filled with fragrant leaves
That filled its new grown bowers,
And lingering in each fingertip,
Were myriads of flowers.

And thus each year, the ancient tree
Gives birth to life anew,
Although at times its hours on earth
Seemed destined to be few.

And many men have gathered here
To reap her wondrous flowers,
That yearly come to show how life
Endures the tragic hours.

Joel M. Schreiber is the chairman emeritus of the Orthodox Union Publications Commission. He wrote “Renewal” over 35 years ago when his mother was about to undergo open-heart surgery.