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Felling the Elm

For years I watched
subtle fieldstone wall
smiling in many directions
at your ascent
toward purest light,
climbing with poised strength
under white weight of winter,
impervious to stings
of summer
and lashes of storm.
Now, furrowed and leafless
in a season
when your sisters
are gleaming
in yellow dances
to clear music
of autumn woodwinds,
brittle and hollow
no mulch is enough
to rekindle your pulse.

Until this moment
I believed
you would outlive me,
as you had
the others
who dwelled here.
You remind that life
is a vertical marathon

But now,
as chainsaw whines
and wall is witness,
I wish you could know
what you have given;
the green grace
the coolness,
the translations
of wind’s words
through your leaves,
the jeweled mornings
your arms held birds
of great beauty,

within your body
earth and sun
become one.

-Michael Zoll-