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The Elm That Shades My House

By John I. Blair

The elm that shades my house
Also shelters six squirrels, a dozen doves,
Countless beetles, grubs, worms.

It blocks scorching summer sun,
Gilds glowing autumn afternoons,
Creaks and groans on iced December nights.

And when March shivers, anticipating Spring,
The elm sheds sweet winged seeds
By thousands to the ground.

On my part, though I practice
Arboreal birth control
By plucking seedlings from the lawn,

Deep in the drought of August
I will drag my garden hose
Tirelessly to water roots,

And every grain of fertilizer
I spread around for flowers
Feeds the tree as well.

All the days I dwell here
I know I will be grateful
For this elm, and it for me.

And whether it or I be first to go,
The other will feel the loss
And find some way to mourn.

2003 John I. Blair


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