THE OAK ABOVE ME
Something there is that loves a century old tree,
An oak reaching skyward, way up above me,
And branching out forever.
That was here long, long before,
I was a twinkle in my father’s eye,
That abided time, and watched down below,
As some of my ancestors walked on by.
The mischief of chain saws is another thing,
The buzz of the ripping saw loudly rings,
Louder than bells that toll for trees,
A sound that brings me down, down to my knees.
One day the neighbor sent a notice to me,
The Oak that sheltered my tiny yard,
Where I’d come to enjoy my privacy,
Leaned a bit out above his roof, so he,
Proposed to shape it “professionally”.
The leaves were down, the crew arrived,
Carving up all, whatever they’d see,
But stood there waiting before they’d attack,
To watch me standing under my tree.
I frantically phoned, and the neighbor came,
An absentee owner in a classic car,
Retired now, and living afar,
But he who couldn’t stop worrying
That a healthy branch might someday fall,
And damage his investment property:
A tree as healthy as it could be.
An ultimatum was issued aloud to me,
He could cut it be right at the property line,
Or handle the problem “professionally”.
He meant with insensitivity!
Before I’d cut, I’d try to see,
By sitting below, who uses the tree,
I’d ask to whom I might give offense,
Before I hid behind precedents,
And claimed the sky as my property.
He parted of course, his crew maimed my tree,
Only half is left, which belongs to me,
His rights protected, a century now gone
No branches hang over his asphalt lawn,
Did he ever care for the tree or me,
No, he handled us both “professionally”.
Now I wonder if he knew what he was cutting off,
Something there is that doesn’t love half a tree,
Or a neighbor who hides constitutionally,
This poem’s for him, it’s the mischief from me.
James W Firestone