The Ash Borer

dverse Open Link Night # 202 Posted by Bodhirose
Insidiously, silently, they worked in darkness
Burrowing, eating, until there was no hope
Still it took a long time until the damage
revealed itself in bare limbs and stripped bark
twigs and branches scattered on the ground
at the whim of every passing breath of wind.

And so, the tree was felled, cut into logs,
loaded into the back of a pick-up, then stored
for fire wood this winter.
In the dying it fed and in death warmed.

Life goes on. And should I curse the ash-borer
for doing what comes naturally? I pretend that
before the first bite a prayer was offered asking
the gods’ forgiveness for partaking of the tree’s life.
And I thanked the tree for its sacrifice of warmth
a provision of God’s forethought.

Is this maybe just to curb the queasiness
at our survival at another’s expense? And yet
it seems right in the end to be aware that
life is life and never take it for granted.
There is a hole, a void where the ash tree stood
and generations of birds, squirrels, will never
know the safety of its arms. I’ll never feel again
the comfort of its shade or the pleasure of
watching its swaying leaves in the breeze.

And its roots remain embedded in the soil
and the stump rises like a headstone. Here
stood a living thing. Be thankful.

33 thoughts on “The Ash Borer

  1. Very powerful write! I especially like this line “In the dying it fed and in death warmed.” and the final stanza. That final stanza is contains unique and very effect imagery — the stump as the headstone. Always sad to see a tree felled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, this is one of my favorites, so very spiritual, yet metaphoric too. I wonder how God feels about mosquitos who use us and animals as food ? Fleas are of the same ilk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have such an affinity with trees, your poem brought tears to my eyes, Debi. Coincidentally, my husband has been working on the trees and shrubs in our garden and, although I know some branches and whole trees have to go, I can’t bear it. I know that other creatures have to live too. We humans can’t criticise as we’re just like the ash borer, feeding off nature. I love the lines:
    ‘In the dying it fed and in death warmed’
    and
    ‘…its roots remain embedded in the soil
    and the stump rises like a headstone’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything has a beginning and end and you illustrate the beauty of this so well, Debi. Even in its death the tree still gives…reminds me of that poem, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I love this poem and that ending is precisely perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have seen those trees barren with ash borer, being cut down ~ It’s sad to see them with just roots now, but I have too come to accept the cycle of life and death ~ Love your share Debi ~ Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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