The other day while Al's busted femur was healing, I met Dr. Bill Bell in the hospital corridor.
"What do you think of the doings along the Bypass?" he asked. While I was trying to put my thoughts into words, he said, "Remember that poem you wrote when they cut down the trees to build the Bypass? You should write a sequel."
Although I don't always obey doctor's orders, I thought best I do so this time:
"The Bypass Road" (Sept. 7, 1978)
They grind and howl and show their might
so sure that what they do is right.
The aged monarchs tremble, fall
Limbs tangled in a rubbish ball
The chainsaw, the dozer and man.
The dainty flowers join the mush
Crushed to pulp -- and blueberry brush
Moose browse, the bush where rabbits sleep
All become a rubbish heap
The backhoe, the dozer and man.
Land barons smile and rub their hands
The scar spread wide along their lands
Progress cannot spare the tree
Or quiet place for moose to be.
But some of us mourn.
And now the sequel:
"Along the Bypass" (written and edited by Al and Gail Sorensen)
Ancient gray monarchs -- limbs hurled all around
Smashed to the earth by the force that ground
Dragged through the mud, tossed in a pile
Snipped and stripped by growling machines
Stripped by machines and man.
Tiny beetles, larva larva. Beetles ground them down
Howling winds tornado wrath
Wild and howling snapped their limbs
Our Mother Nature struck them down.
I stand by the tombstones gray and dead.
I stand by the dead and grieve.
I remember the joy of knowing their prime
Remember Give thanks and the pain is gone.
I look to the East and there is the sky.
A stranger long-hidden by curtains of green.
I marvel as blue turns to gold turns to rose.
And rejoice at the birth of the dawn
I stand in the splendor of a rosy new day
Look up and give thanks
for the dozer the chainsaw and man.
Thanks, Bill, for asking me to write this poem.