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    photo of gnarled dead tree


    By Ian Barth

    March 20, 2015

    The bent oak by the tool shed is dying.
    Now in late April, you can clearly see
    the deadened wood at each extremity
    encircled by the bright first leaves of spring.

    One day soon my saw will bite
    into the base of that tough old trunk;
    careful notch cut out the front,
    back cut, wedge, and then timber.
    Give or take 100 years
    of life and growth come crashing right

    between two cherry ornamentals;
    chainsaw precision.
    The air a rich infusion:
    burning oil and petrol smoke,
    tangy sour of fresh cut oak,
    crushed wild garlic and bluebells.

    In this moment though, the late sun halos
    the soft bright green against the bark’s brown grey,
    The slightest of breezes whispering by,
    it seems the chorus of rooks crescendos.

    photo of gnarled dead tree

    Photograph by Theophilos Papadopoulos

    Contributed By IanBarth Ian Barth

    Ian Barth is an editor at Plough and lives at the Darvell Bruderhof in Robertsbridge, England.

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