R. G. Bell

Rookie - 149 Points (6/15/52)

Live Oaks - Poem by R. G. Bell

The mansion crumbles, held up by honeysuckle outside,
Bales of hay and ghosts within. A columned barn
With paintless facade and bitter memories.

But once it was right, new and clean, a white bastion
Dominating a flat landscape, an island of grace
And order, temple to tradition, home to someone.

But when the house was right the trees were not-
Saplings, planted in accordance with a surveyor's eye
By black hands called away from gathering white gold,
Two rows, mathematically spaced, flanking the drive,
Little and comic attempting to decorate
The big house. Young trees saw the white feet marching out
And shortly after, the black ones following, running,
Then the white returning, dirty, dragging, defeated.

The live oaks, mossy now, magnificent except
The road-most two, mangled to accommodate power lines,
Could compliment the place that was when they were young.

But machines now gather white gold from the fields
And black hands are pocketed with little to do.
The trees preside over a home approaching ruin
Wondering why it could not wait for them to grow
And trying to recall if there was an hour
When their ascending grace was equal to the house
In its decline, when the coming in and going out
Were in harmony. And did anybody notice?


Comments about Live Oaks by R. G. Bell

  • Bri Edwards (8/6/2013 8:22:00 PM)


    i enjoyed this. thanks for making it accessible to this native english speaker! i don't know if this has any layers of meaning. i tend to write what i'll call very straightforward stuff, much of it humorous, i hope, but some of it quite serious. much of mine tells stories, or describes scenes, and for me your poem does both, and very well, especially for anyone who paid attention to american history class in high school in the 1960s. at least the class dealt with some of what your poem speaks of. i like the idea of the oaks thinking:

    Wondering why it could not wait for them to grow
    And trying to recall if there was an hour
    When their ascending grace was equal to the house
    In its decline, when the coming in and going out
    Were in harmony. And did anybody notice?

    were the mansions walls filled with......OH! I JUST GOT the reference to bales of hay and a barn. i know some green houses these days have walls built of bales of straw, covered with mud, and that's what i was thinking of. the mansion is now used as a barn!
    among others, i enjoyed the line And black hands are pocketed with little to do. thanks for sharing. this goes to MyPoemList.
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  • (4/10/2012 3:53:00 PM)


    I must agree with Dave Walkers fine comment; poems may have more purpose and life within them than any one person is able to understand, including at times the author; any of us may return to any poem (or any writing for that matter) years latter to see it in a completely different light, and perhaps shadow. What I like about this poem, and what I always am hoping to find in whatever I may read, is the way the words seem to look back, and forward together through the lense of the present. A view unto humanity / living. This is what makes me think; and hopefully, somehow shall give me cause to find a better way to walk the road of life along side all of my fellow travellers.
    This poem does make me think, and for that I am grateful.
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  • (4/6/2012 11:52:00 AM)


    People will see what they want to to see. Be it good or bad. A writers job is to get people talking
    If your poem gets people talking then you have done your job.
    Poetry needs to push forward, in each poets style.
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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 6, 2012



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