by Herschel Cozine
They want to cut them down. The old trees near
The edge of town. Along the old county road.
I climbed them as a boy, shared them with birds,
And squirrels. Sat in their shade.
It was a better time.
But that was long ago. Today they’re old,
And sick. A threat, we’re told.
I smile at this. Not from amusement,
But from a sense of irony.
For most of those who sit in judgment
Are old as well. The mayor walks with help,
And has a shaking hand that makes his signature
A feeble, palsied image of a name.
I more suspect the trees stand in the way
Of progress. Such a useful word.
The trees, old though they are, stand firm.
Dying, to be sure. But with a dignity
That is, or should be envied by us all.
Children never climb them anymore,
And that is sad. Trees were meant to climb.
Still, there are those who seek their shade,
On sultry days. Including, if you will,
The very men who call to cut them down.