A Poem as Lovely as a Tree – An Oak Ponders Oak-Wilt


Possibly  this one would choose something by Arthur Rimbaud,

“True, the new era is nothing if not harsh.

“For I can say that I have gained a victory; the gnashing of teeth, the hissing of hellfire, the stinking sighs subside. All my monstrous memories are fading. My last longings depart, – jealousy of beggars, bandits, friends of death, all those that the world passed by. – Damned souls, if I were to take vengance!

“One must be absolutely modern.

“Never mind hymns of thanksgiving: hold on to a step once taken. A hard night! Dried blood smokes on my face, and nothing lies behind me but that repulsive little tree!… The battle for the soul is as brutal as the battles of men; but the sight of justice is the pleasure of God alone.

“Yet this is the watch by night. Let us all accept new strength, and real tenderness. And at dawn, armed with glowing patience, we will enter the cities of glory.”  From ‘Farewell’ by Arthur Rimbaud

Or Baudelaire:

“— Enjoyment fortifies desire.
Desire, old tree fertilized by pleasure,
While your bark grows thick and hardens,
Your branches strive to get closer to the sun!

“Will you always grow, tall tree more hardy
Than the cypress? — However, we have carefully
Gathered a few sketches for your greedy album,
Brothers who think lovely all that comes from afar!”

From ‘Flowers of Evil’, ‘The Voyage’,  by Charles Baudelaire

Or Edgar Allen Poe:

The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

From ‘Spirits of the Dead’, by Edgar Allen Poe

My own saga with Oak Wilt and this particular tree is sung in these past posts:

Oak Wilt, Firewood and Sawmilling

For Want of a Nail – Something Worth Knowing Chainsaw-wise

Outsmarted by a Dead Tree

I’d written about possibly trying to salvage some of it for sawmilling, but that’s not in the cards:

The interior of the trunk is riddled by cracks caused by the rapid shrinkage.

Oak Wilt came on it fast from the roots.  By the time anything showed topside the tree was evidently already dead. 

Arthur Rimbaud, Charlie Baudelaire and E.A. Poe should have put their heads together and written something immortal about how to get the rest of it down.  The job has the potential for being right there in the target zone for their kind of writing.  It’s going to be a booger-bear any way I cut it.

Old Jules

Everything else being equal I think I favor pines:


All that tree-stuff hanging up there leads me to think our songsters are too humanocentric about hanging trees.


22 responses to “A Poem as Lovely as a Tree – An Oak Ponders Oak-Wilt

  1. I rather enjoy your imagination, Jules…. 🙂

  2. Always sad to lose a tree, Jules. But on the bright side, I see you referred to my favorite singer ever, Johnny Horton. 🙂 The part about the lonely squirrel always made me sad. LOL.

    • Jool: Thanks for the visit. Johnny Horton’s been around longer than that tree was alive. That’s bound to mean something, probably about pines. Gracias, Jules

  3. Here in my Missouri Ozarks yard, and in the surrounding Mark Twain National Forest, the oaks and the pines are battling it out. My son with the Forest Service says the pines will eventually win. ( I think they were here first.) In my yard, the beloved cedar is also a factor, and at times I have to give in. Too many is too many. Better to have a few center-stage than hedges of scrawny ones. Enjoyed your literary post with photos!

  4. I love our trees. I think it is the only reason besides inertia that keeps me here.

  5. Thank you for your posts of art, poetry and Texas. I am a San Antonio girl, Austin, Wetmore and Taylor….Enjoyed! Paulette Jackson The Conversant Counselor

  6. My first public performance was the recitation of Joyce Kilmer’s ‘Trees’ in Agua Dulce when I was in the 4th grade way back in 1952

  7. Poor tree, looks like snarled wool! Can’t get the truck to it and pull it over with a rope?

  8. I’ve battled Oak Wilt years ago – now those damn beetles are killing my cedars. It’s easy enough to pull out the small ones, but the huge ones provide as much shade as an oak or cedar elm. What I can’t figure out – why doesn’t the infestation of beetles take their prey consecutively – not a few trees in a lot of locations? It’s almost as though they’ve flown in and taken up their own territories. How did they skip acres and choose my place? It’s a conspiracy I tell ya, they hate me…. 🙂

    • Hi June: Good seeing you this morning. I’m not saying it isn’t a conspiracy, but I’m saying if there’s one it’s complicated. Hope you save your cedars. Gracias, Jules

  9. The branches around your shed look like frozen black lightening. Great pictures, and writing…and tree.

  10. I wouldn’t say I prefer pines, but I sure was sad to take out what should have been a nice 30 footer in my yard. The neighbor had its twin; tall, lovely, dense, symmetrical. While I had the ugly duckling; pale, shedding, thinning, crooked. Come to find out, some well meaning former owner had put a 20 foot diameter plastic ‘mulch’ under the tree years ago. My guess was it slowly smothered/starved the tree and I was seeing the end result.

    Other than a narrow strip of trees and shrubs along the rivers, almost every lowland tree in Central Wyoming has been planted by humans. It is hard to let a tree go. There are a lot of elms around my neighborhood. Most tree snobs consider them “trash trees,” but tell that to the first folks who settled here fighting constant wind, merciless sun, poor soil and extreme temperatures. If it grows, plant it! Today’s ‘settlers’ are much more persnickety.

    It’s all in one’s perspective. I had my own wood-shed moment when I was griping about the cheatgrass to an old timer. I have never heard anyone say anything good about cheatgrass until that old timer said it was the only thing that kept the dirt from blowing away during the 30’s. Perspective.

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