I think that the gates are the most haunted spot in Konoha.

I watch everyday, and so many leave; Genin, Chunin, Jounin, ANBU, even Kages and Sannin. So very many leave,

And so few return.

All levels of Shinobi leave through these gates,

In the dead of night,

In the early morning,

The afternoon, evening.

The genin leave with excitement and smiles, expecting adventure and heroes

Sadly they won't find any out there.

They usually come back, bloodied, battered,

Broken, some.

The Chunin are a little more learned, they have seen death most of them,

They leave with a little more of a cautious look.

They are more skilled then the genin, but get harder missions too.

They come back often with blood on their faces.

The jounin are hardened, they have been touched by death.

The death of their comrades

The blood on their hands, that they have spilled themselves;

On purpose and inadvertently

They leave to kill,

And come back having killed

If they do not come back, then their mission has been turned against them,

And they are paying for the blood they have spilled with their own

Drop by drop.

The ANBU do not usually leave by the gate, but when they do,

They leave in cloaks,

Hidden in darkness

In mist

In the masks of their faces

And those that they wear on their faces.

And they do not leave with smiles

Or excitement

Or caution

They are tools,

And tools do not need emotions.

And if they come back, they cannot be broken, only bent

Only bent,

Until they have bent so far that they do not come back at all

Because they are dead on the battlefield,

Or if lucky, in an unknown

Unmarked grave.

Or they are still out there,

And then the hunter nins leave;

And after many months they come back,

And bring pieces of useless tools with them,

A little piece of the village returned;

Because it is not a village of shinobi,

It is a village of tools.

The shinobi are the property of the village

They have been cultivated and grown carefully since birth,

Since before birth

They are made to be the perfect tools

And trained like a vine up the trellis, until the vine no longer bears fruit, and is cut down mercilessly on some battle field,

The blood of the vine watering the parched earth,

Giving power for new seedlings to sprout up in its legacy.

These seedlings are carefully cultivated and culled as is seen fit in fortunate accidents.

No vine grows old except the mother vine

No vine knows as much as the mother vine

And the mother vine sprouts from Root

With large Leaf-Shadows covering it

Didn't you wonder why there were no old shinobi except for the Root and the Leaf?

The mother Root hides in the Leaf-Shadows

It has for so long

And will continue to do so

And if a vine finds the Root of the mother they are often sent on a mission through these gates,

And when they leave they bite their thumb and mark me with a print of blood;

It is a silent promise to come back and burn the festering Root.

But when they come back all they can do is wait with me here,

Just wait,

And watch the little ones go through the gate,

And come back baptized in blood.