Taking Down the Old Elm

With a borrowed tractor

and a front loader,

I lift the bucket high into the air,

tilted just right until both heel and lip

touch against the trunk,

easing out the clutch

and inching forward.

Twenty feet of dead gray

eases its way to a slow slant

a quarter-turn away

from the neighbor’s tin shed.

I back off,

shift to a lower gear

and re-position the bucket.

Coming in a little lower,

catching the lip below the burl

I push again,

sending the tree toward earth.

The trunk slips to the ground,

tearing up roots less rotted

than I believed

and a massed cup of dirt

six feet across and two feet thick.

Even dead roots

can hold a thing in place

long past its growing,

but they cannot

make it green again.

How like a man

anchored to his opinions

but long past feeling faith

is an old

dead

tree.

H. Arnett

8/4/11

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About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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