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A Post Oak On Matlock Road

By John I. Blair

(See pic below)

Many lives ago I was an acorn,
Round and smooth,
Clinging to my mother oak
Amid a grove along the stream.

Later, when the Man came
And cut so many trees
To make his buildings,
I had found a spot

Between some remnant roots
Where I sprouted as a tiny shoot
With just four leaves
Upon a spindly stem.

Rich with humus
From the dwindling woodland,
The soil nurtured me
Until I was a sapling

Tall and straight enough
To shade the deep veranda
Of the foursquare house
Hed built beside the springs.

He spared me, fenced me
From the goats and horses,
Watered me a bit
When rains failed.

My spreading arms
Sheltered his sons at play.
I recall their laughter
Even as they left,

Fodder for the war
So far away. The Man wept
Beside my trunk one night
When he heard their fate.

Years passed;
New people, new sounds,
Wagons, coaches, buggies,
Droves of bawling cattle.

Strange machinery,
First puffing steam,
Then smoke, growled
Along the road.

The empty house burned,
Replaced by pastures,
Other houses, other men,
Women, children.

And I grew old,
Rough-barked, tall, thick,
All the while
The people came and went,

And brought disruption,
Soil ripped open, all
The other oaks destroyed,
The stream defiled,

Cement, asphalt, bricks,
Lines of cars, offices
In rows, a pavement desert
Where my roots hide.

Yet I remain, deep
In memories, long
In patience, living
Where all else died.

Stand beneath my limbs
And look about you;
History is made
Not just of what is gone

But what survives.

2009 John I. Blair


Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Below:M. T. Johnson Plantation House


 

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