R. G. Bell
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?
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