poem: oak tree
White Oak Tree
In my back yard there is a white oak tree
With a straight trunk perhaps twenty inches
In diameter and twenty feet tall before
Its branches multiply to the sky.
We talk many a summer afternoon.
We are perhaps about the same age,
Sixty going on seventy.
There is little doubt He
Will outlive me and enjoy
Many more seasons and summer afternoons.
No one who will own this land
Will be fool enough
To cut you down.
I can see your beautiful lumber
And the hundred and fifty clear board feet,
But I would sooner cut my throat
As cut you down.
And I know about cutting trees
Having earned my livelihood
As a cabinetmaker.
We talk of sun, leaves and stretching
To the sun and sky.
Life is good when given half a chance.
I think of starvation, disease, famine and death,
And thank God that I have the chance to watch
The tall, straight oak perhaps grow another
Twenty or so years.
I am happy to think You
Might live a couple of hundred more years,
At least that is my sincere wish.
Remember me when I have become soil
Beneath your roots and You
Have tripled in girth as You reach to the sky.
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