Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dead Tree

By John I. Blair

This summer’s heat and drouth,
Worst in thirty years,
Has born dire fruit;
Our magnolia’s dead.

Not the icon of the South,
Evergreen with white blossoms
(Though those, too, have suffered),
It was deciduous:

Every year in autumn
The leaves would slowly brown
And fall to ground,
Its branches gray and bare by Christmas.

And then in spring
Fat buds would burst
Into a flowering glory,
Huge pink cups.

Now that will not come again;
Roots baked dry, foliage crisped,
Cambium dead of thirst,
Its glory’s gone.

I’ll hold a wake this winter,
Test limbs for life,
Scan tips for growth;
Miracles could happen.

And if they fail
I’ll cut it down with care,
Respecting all the years
Since I first planted it,

Allowing it the grace
Not to be replaced,
But remembered by the little oak
That sprouted in its shelter.

©2011 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

1 comment:

  1. Feeling for your loss, John, and seeing similar stories playing out in my own Houston suburban neighborhood. We remain green in our garden through diligent watering but worry about our old ash tree, the rain has been so long in coming. Today, finally, a real thunderstorm. A blessing. Sending love to your magnolia and intent for a miracle.