The following poem was inspired by this Native American story:

On the banks of the Great River, there lived two trees. The first was a mighty oak tree. The oak tree was tall and given to bragging about just how strong he was. He would look at the willow and think, "How weak and soft she looks. So unlike my own powerful stature."

The willow for her part would sway gently and comfortably, letting the oak tree say and believe what he wanted. He was, after all, very strong.

One day the wind began to blow. As the day went on, the wind blew harder and harder, and all of the creatures who could take cover did so. The wind raged on, growing stronger. The willow bowed humbly to the wind's power, but the oak tree remained stiff and resisted the force of the wind until he was snapped in two!

After the wind had quite blowing, the willow said to the oak, "Mighty brother, had you only known that to meet force with resistance is to create a greater force - and in that force, something must give."

As you can see, my poem looks at the story another way. Enjoy.

"To Bend"

Be like the Willow in the wind, See how it stands because it did bend?
In the mighty storm as the winds galed?
And see how the mighty Oak is felled?
In its pride it did not yield.
And now it lies dead upon the field.
What good has pride borne,
when one is felled from the storm?
Had it bent it would still stand,
like the limber Willow you say's not grand.

Ah yes, the Willow bent. The Oak fallen, its energy spent.
But how proud it was and courageous too.
To stand up to the wind unyieldingly true.
Its honor not brittle its pride not forgotten.
Even here on this field as it goes rotten.
For it was glorious whilst it stood.
This once mighty Oak, now a pile of wood.
A moment of glory or life lived to yield?
I'd rather lie rotten upon the field.

Copyright 2008 Heather Bahnmaier. All Rights Reserved.