Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the sixty-fifth poem in this series. This week’s piece is by memoirist Jill Schaefer and, she tells me, is a true story of what happened in her neighborhood many years ago.
The Last Stand
One bright sunny winter’s morning
the saws arrived without a warning
and cut down Moonglow’s pepper trees
from lofty crown to stumpy knees.
Roots were buckling up the paving
and some in pipes misbehaving.
Not all the road would be repaved,
so surely some could have been saved?
Most were healthy with no disease,
giving shelter with their verdant leaves.
Spreading and shady in their prime,
not all were guilty of the crime.
“Tomorrow down come all your trees
with no exceptions, no reprieves.”
The threat left Stardust Road aghast
that such a deed should come to pass.
There had to be somehow a way
to bring about a brief delay-
to keep the leaves, mature and green,
to grace the road with foliage screen.
For Moonglow Road there was no choice.
Stardust, at least, still had a voice
to plead that many oldsters stay,
those doing no harm, anyway.
Not all the trees deserve to die.
Leave some of them to reach the sky.
Moonglow now is but a moonscape.
Does Stardust want a similar fate?
Me, next door and neighbor Brogan
pinned up signs with witty slogans
asking for a stay of execution
until was found the best solution.
Next to each trunk we placed a car-
the deadly knives approach to bar.
Out came TV and local reporter
to tell of the impending slaughter.
There was a standoff for some weeks
while officials a survey did seek.
The majority would have their say.
All trees to go-or let them stay.
Alas, too few the trees did please.
“They drop their leaves, make me sneeze.”
Take all of them, not just a few.
With promised striplings start anew.
We heard trucks rumble and the whirr
as blades sent all the birds astir.
One by one each tree did crash,
sawn up for logs, then ground to ash.
From a sum of more than fifty trees,
safely salvaged were a mere three
to those of us who did implore—
me, my neighbor and next door.
As if we’d won a hard won prize
at the expense of their demise.
For we’d won a battle, lost the war.
Thwarted were we to save but more.
But, of our trees we are bereft
save for those three so kindly left.
With one or two left behind here and there,
our neighborhood is not so bare.
For gone are all our leafy arbors,
pleasing to eye and flocks did harbor.
Filtering sunrays, hiding from sight
the poles and wires of exposed blight.
For sidewalks new and wheelchair ramps
we surely give our grateful thanks.
Yet with new trees, then we’ll cheer
as slowly they grow year by year.
Now that all is said and done,
the noise and dust all finally gone,
let’s laud the three that still remain,
although the ambiance’s not quite the same..
A decade now gone by,
and the few new trees have grown quite high.
Neighbors have died or moved away
and my old tree still stands today.
With everything that’s been achieved,
I trust that most are feeling pleased.
So ’tis time to FORGET the past
and FORGIVE all at long, long last.
I loved it. Thank you, Jill.
Jill has lived on the California West Coast for the past thirty-five years, fifteen years of which were in Santa Barbara and Goleta and twenty in Lompoc. She, her late husband and three sons emigrated from England and Germany in 1974.
‘Up The Wooden Hill’ is a historical memoir about the author growing up in London’s Blitz and her husband in Nazi Germany before, during and after World War II, featuring two tales seen through different spectacles. Stories of love and war, tears and laughter, families, friends and foes. From school days fraught with sibling rivalry and controversies with parents, lives are rebuilt, the Deutsche mark revalued and a father de-nazified. Both the young people mentioned in the book learn apprenticeships, experience calf love and the beginning of a postwar world. Video: http://www.eopinion.us/videos/71/up-the-wooden-hill
“Coming of Age in California -English Style-” is a lighthearted account of the author’s true story of herself, a naive English teen, fresh from home and convent school, venturing forth with a girlfriend to the California of the 1950s. The duo travel from Southampton, England on the Queen Mary to New York City, cross-country by Greyhound bus via Route 66 to a welcome in Pasadena. The two girls first visit California’s small town of Bakersfield, then on to Hollywood with an involvement in a call-girl ring. The journey continues to Long Beach and a job with the Miss Universe Pageant, and finally to San Francisco, city of sophistication and singles bars. Along the way they encounter climate, communication, customs, and cultural challenges…and a disintegrating friendship. video: http://www.eopinion.us/videos/44/coming-of-age-in-california-english-style
In Quest of the Old West -A Driving Diary-:
A Driving Journal of Jaunts and Journeys by Jill As a Cold War dilemma unfolds, an Anglo-German couple, Jill and Horst, drive off on a lighthearted jaunt through the western states of America, their adopted country. Jill keeps a daily journal of their fortnight’s trip through the Western States to the Dakotas and back to their home in California’s coastal city of Santa Barbara. News alerts of the US/Russia drama up-date the couple on their driving journey of discovery, as they dig and delve into the past, dally with locals, delight at historical sites, and day-dream into the future.
Jill’s website is http://home.earthlink.net/~schaefer234.
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