Good Deeds and Rotten Oaks (For Saint Boniface of Mainz)

It’s said that he cut Thor’s oak down
Before the pagan crowd,
The Sacred Oak of Geismar which,
When felled, revealed itself to be
Rotten and decayed.
It’s said he thought his work a failure
In the Frisian land,
And went back as an old man to
Complete what he had scarce begun
And met there with his death.
It’s said that he died at his work,
On the day of Pentecost,
Come to meet with and confirm
Believers, and yet finding there
An ambush and his death.
It’s said he helped the Frankish king
Join forces with the Pope
And rise to raise the Roman reign
Again from its rot and decay
And make a holy rule.
It’s said he took his holy name
From doing such good deeds,
And if his is contested fame,
His legacy still surely stands
For whom he came to serve.
If oak trees can, though tall and proud,
Still be rotten inside,
If dying can bring in new life,
If hope can grow from stumps of trees,
Boniface stands tall.
If good deeds are not measured by
The goodness of the doer or
The eyes of modern righteousness
But on the one for whom they’re done,
We cannot judge at all,
But can just hope to one day see
A taller oak, a grander tree
Than any we have ever seen
And in its branches all our seeds
We sowed in dying earth.

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