The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open plain

And always got its share of rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing.

 

The man who never had to toil

To gain and farm his patch of soil,

Who never had to win his share

Of sun and sky and light and air,

Never became a mighty man

But lived and died as he began.

 

Good timber does not grow with ease

The stronger wind, the stronger trees,

The further sky, the greater length,

The more the storm the more the strength.

By sun and cold, by rain and snow,

In trees and men good timber grow.

 

Where thickest lies the forest growth

We find the patriarchs of both.

And they hold counsel with the stars

Whose broken branches show the scars

Of many winds and much strife.

This is the common law of life.—Douglas Malloch